This story is available exclusively to Insider subscribers. Become an Insider and start reading now.
- Anzu helps brands place their ads inside video games.
- The company raised $20 million to expand into VR and build new products.
- It will almost double its headcount by hiring in sales, marketing, and engineering departments.
Anzu, a startup whose technology inserts ads into video games, has raised $20 million in a new funding round led by NBCUniversal and HTC, which manufactures electronics including VR headsets.
This latest round, Anzu’s fourth, brings its total funding to $37 million. Anzu declined to disclose its revenue and valuation, but said its cofounders retain majority control.
Previously, Anzu raised money from WPP, Bitkraft, and Sony.
Founded in 2017, Anzu helps advertisers place logos and digitally-rendered products inside video games. The company has created programmatic technology that allows video game developers to dynamically personalize content to individual gamers on mobile, console, and desktop — so an ad for beer won’t show up on a game popular with children.
Anzu also can measure how long gamers looked at an ad, or if something in-game blocked the ad. Benedy also said Anzu can tie impressions to purchases.
The company will use its new funding to build products for virtual reality, through a partnership with HTC, which is creating a metaverse called Viverse. The company is hoping to test new ad formats for use in a metaverse, said Itamar Benedy, CEO and cofounder of Anzu.
Anzu will also use the money to almost double its 80-person workforce to about 150 by the end of 2022. The startup is hiring across its sales, marketing, and engineering so it can build products for new platforms like Roblox and HTC, as well as publishers and developers.
Anzu wants to make in-game advertising as unobtrusive as possible, said Benedy, as ads that interrupt the gaming experience could turn off gamers.
Its clients include video game developers and publishers like Saber Interactive and Ubisoft. Anzu gets exclusive rights to sell their in-game inventory to advetisers like American Eagle and Pepsi, who pay on a CPM basis, and Anzu and its clients share the revenue.
Scroll down to read select slides from Anzu’s pitch deck.
Anzu says it can blend ads into gaming experiences and provide targeting and measurement.
Anzu cited data showing that even though people spend more time on games than TV and streaming, gaming receives far less marketing spend.
Anzu says consumers embrace ads when they don’t interrupt the gaming experience.
Anzu lays out three reasons why advertisers have been reluctant to invest in in-game ads.
Anzu touts its industry awards.
Anzu says its tech can provide display ads, video ads that blend into the gaming experience, and custom ones as well.
Anzu says its metrics comply with the standards set by industry trade bodies like the MRC and IAB.
Anzu showcases its adtech partners that power its measurement capabilities, including Nielsen, Kochava, and Oracle Advertising.
Anzu gives investors a snapshot of what its ads look like inside a range of different games.