As “un-disruptable” industries go, the abundantly old-school world of TV advertising might be near the top of the list. Or at least it was. In its three years in existence, Somerville’s Clypd has begun to put an end to the traditional methods of buying and selling TV ads—long executed through a combination of spreadsheets, fax machines and steak dinners, says CEO Joshua Summers—and brought the process into the digital, big-data age. Now the ad tech firm is plotting to be the next Boston tech company to expand its reach beyond the U.S., with plans for its first Latin America launch during the first half of 2016 and an expansion to Europe later that year, Summers said.
“We’ve got smart folks over here, a great team that’s done everything we could to make it successful. But we also got very lucky on market timing, and that’s been a boon to our business,” Summers said. “So we’ve had acceleration beyond the normal curve.”
Since its founding in 2012, Clypd has grown to serve a customer base that includes some of the top names in cable, telecom, satellite, broadcast and TV programming. Discovery, ESPN, Cox Communications and Univision are the customers Clypd has been allowed to disclose, though there are a number of other major ones. The company has grown to a staff of 48 and has raised about $30 million in funding, including a $19.4 million Series B round in the spring.
As a result of its major growth, Clypd is one of the nominees for the BostInno 50 on Fire awards, which are being held Thursday to celebrate the region’s “heating up” players.
Clypd’s founders are Summers and Doug Hurd, both formerly executives at PayPal Media Network in Boston. Before that they were at Where Inc., which PayPal acquired.
In a nutshell, Clypd offers technology to TV ad sellers for managing all the aspects of their sales. The company describes its service as programmatic advertising for TV, though that’s admittedly a bit of a liberal use of the term programmatic, which in other instances—such as for online display ads—means everything happens automatically.
“We also got very lucky on market timing, and that’s been a boon to our business.”
Clypd’s technology does bring more automation, however, particularly around the workflows that TV ad salespeople use. But where it more closely resembles programmatic is in the amount of data that goes into choosing and targeting advertising. For instance, in the past, TV ads were bought just using age and gender demographics (“I’m looking to sell trucks to men ages 25-54”). Clypd brings in a wide variety of data sources to let advertisers “buy” an audience they never could before. So, ads can be much better targeted—as in, men ages 35-54 who make $80,000+ in income, own a home, live in a rural area and are in the market for a new automobile in the next six months. The service models out where those audiences exist, with the result that “here’s a 50 percent higher likelihood of hitting the target consumer than before,” Summers said. And that makes everyone in the equation happy—advertisers get an ideal audience and media companies can charge more for ad spots, he said.
Clypd’s push to bring more data into TV advertising sales coincided with pressure from the buy side to do the same, and that’s where some of the lucky market timing comes in, Summers said. “It all just kind of worked together at the same time for us,” he said.
Clypd employs 40 at its Davis Square headquarters and also has an office in New York. Investors include Accomplice, Data Point Capital, RTL Group, Duke University, TiVo, Transmedia Capital and Western Technology Investment.