Streaming Ad Insertion Startup Snags $15.5 Million

Lightningcast aims to make its system of streaming media insertion the industry standard, and says its recent $15.5 million second round of financing and new investors will help it do just that.

Participants in the startup’s second round of funding include Nokia Venture Partners, which joins previous investors Redleaf Group and Birchmere Ventures. Redleaf and Birchmere gave a total of $4.7 million during Lightningcast’s intial funding in March.

“Securing investments from Nokia, Redleaf and Birchmere validates our business model,” said Lightningcast chief executive Tom Des Jardins in a statement. “This, combined with the strong market demand for our products and services, speaks to our leadership position in the streaming media market.”

Despite Des Jardins’ assertion, Alexandria, Va.-based Lightningcast is in a field brimming with competitors — including major players like DoubleClick, Engage, Real Media and ACTV, all of which have deals with radio ad-insertion companies and online streaming content providers. A host of smaller firms like Zebus also are hoping to win market share for their products.

But Lightningcast is banking that ties to its newest investor will help it make a name for itself. Nokia Venture Partners recently has been involved with, among other projects, the launch of Engage’s spinoff wireless marketing venture Avesair.

“Nokia Venture Partners has the industry contacts, the market expertise and portfolio company relationships to assist Lightningcast in its goal to be the standard for streaming media ad insertion technology,” said Lightningcast chief financial officer Jeff Bartlam. “The value of our relationship with Nokia Venture Partners goes far beyond their investment dollars.”

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