We’re in the midst of a content boom. As publishers and independent video producers look to increase distribution and revenue, technologies to help facilitate the dissemination and monetization of digital video have emerged. Today, one of those technology companies, Vemba, has announced a $5 million Series A round of funding led by Mark Suster’s Upfront Ventures and Berterlsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI). Enterprise Fund at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation also contributed capital. In total, Vemba has raised $8.5 million including early stage funding.
Based in Toronto, Vemba fits into the distribution and monetization equation for publishers by enabling a backend marketplace for video to be licensed and programmed. The tech also supports content discovery, which most frequently has been considered as a consumer pain point, but Vemba is focused on allowing publishers to find and license video that supplements their own libraries. Premium publishers like Condé Nast, VICE, RedBull, Tribune and major television networks are already using the product since it launched last year. A similar business, Vidible, was acquired by AOL over a year ago for a rumored $75 million.
“We’ve found a real sweet spot within the business. We’ve seen more and more publishers looking to take control of their own destiny and manage their own distribution networks,” said Garrick Tiplady, Vemba’s CEO.
Vemba, which could also be in the competitive set with other streaming distribution software companies like Zype*, ingests video from any OVP including Ooyala, BrightCove and a publisher’s own native player. Unlike Zype, however, Vemba does not run its own ad network and instead leaves the monetization mechanisms in the hands of the publisher.
“There tends to be this balance of YouTube and Facebook for audience and now everyone’s trying to understand how to monetize off platform,” said Tiplady. In a market where there are over 1.5 billion unique digital video viewers estimated in 2015 and an expected increase to that number by over 50% by 2018, video publishers have an increasing need to optimize for those eyeballs across mobile and desktop. Both mobile and desktop video distribution are baked into Vemba’s product, but funding will help the company expand its offering and client base.
“We’ve seen a significant shift from trying to capture eyeballs entirely on owned and operated properties to understanding that the content itself is valuable and the ability to monetize off property is going to be the way of the future,” added Tiplady. “We’ve seen all of our publishers really trying to take control of that trend. What we’re solving for is the ability to do that while maintaining full control of your assets once they’ve left the property.”
*Update: An earlier version of this story noted that BDMI was an investor for Zype, which they are not.