NBC Universal’s Peacock Fund led a $9 million third round for online ad inventory manager The Rubicon Project. Peacock provided $6 million, with the rest provided by existing backers Clearstone Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund. With this round, Los Angeles-based Rubicon has raised $42 million since launching two years ago. The funding will support further acquisitions by Rubicon, which last week bought behavioral targeting data provider Others Online. “We have been considering some acquisitions since we got our last round back in April,” Rubicon founder and CEO Frank Addante told paidContent. “We’ve since identified about five categories where we think we can make some acquisitions: optimization and data, international, mobile, video and local.” Addante declined to provide a time frame for the acquisitions, but says he has so far looked at “probably” 50 companies, some which are still under consideration.
Addante says Rubicon customer NBCU approached them with a strategic investment offer. “At the time, we felt we had enough operating capital. But then we looked at this, and decided, with the economy the way it is, it’s a good opportunity to roll up some other companies. It seemed to make sense to take in this funding and move on those acquisitions.” An NBCU source explained the investment: “Rubicon sits between publishers and ad networks and therefore collects tons of information. As a result, the promise that they can possibly double publishers’ CPMs is what made them attractive to us. They also they are well positioned to do lots of stuff to be determined down the line because of the information flow they sit in.” Aside from satisfying its hunger for more online data, NBCU and other publishers want companies that can make sense out of the surfeit of online audience information that’s available to them through a variety of companies.