Anzu.io has raised $9 million in new funding for its platform for a new generation of in-game advertising.
In-game advertising isn’t new, but Tel Aviv-based Anzu.io claims it can make it more intelligent by seamlessly integrating digital ads directly into the gameplay, without disrupting the user experience. Anzu.io also measures the ad’s effectiveness with real-time analytics.
The gaming industry hit $174.9 billion in 2020, according to market researcher Newzoo. It is now one of the premium channels for advertisers due to the massive opportunity for ad exposure and engagement from esports tournaments and ever-evolving streaming culture. With its hyper-targeting capabilities, Anzu.io creates personalized advertising experiences within games and replaces hard-coded advertisement norms with programmatically served dynamic in-game ads.
As with the previous round, Bitkraft Ventures led the funding with co-lead HBSE Ventures, Also participating were marketing services organization WPP, the Sony Innovation Fund, Alumni Ventures Group, Gaingels, The Chicago Cubs, Goal Ventures, and angel investor Marc Merrill, co-chairman of Riot Games.
Above: Anzu.io added a 7-Eleven ad inside Gravity Rider Zero.
If you’ve heard about in-game ads before, you’re not imagining it. I wrote about in-game advertising companies like Massive more than 10 years ago. Of course, today the programmatic technology and real-time data optimization should be far better.
And that’s what Anzu.io promises with its capability to deploy real-world ads in Internet Advertising Bureau-recognized formats through the exclusive inventory of top video games that promise both brand safety and ad viewability.
This time, the funding will be used to catalyze Anzu’s commercial growth and fuel sales and marketing activities to propel the company forward on a global scale. The investors will act as strategic partners and Anzu will remain an independent company.
Operating across console, PC, and mobile platforms, Anzu’s programmatic technology blends real-world ads into video games, esports tournaments, and live streams, enhancing the realism of games with ads that fit the context.
Above: Anzu.io inserts a Samsung ad in Final Kick.
Clients include game publishers Ubisoft, Lion Castle, and Nacon. Brands using it include Pepsico, Samsung, American Eagle, and Vodafone.
Anzu.io’s roadmap includes new products that will complement and amplify its core technology. Anzu.io is expanding in the U.S., starting with Los Angeles and New York. It is also expanding to Singapore, China, and other core locations.
Itamar Benedy, CEO of Anzu, cofounded the company. Benedy was previously CEO of Berlin-based Glispa, and Anzu.io cofounder Ben Fenster was previously chief product officer of Pay.com. Anzu.io’s chief technology officer is Michael Badichi, previously head of the Innovation Lab at Ironsource.
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