Brand Affinity Technologies Raises $20 Million For Celebrity Endorsement and Engagement Business
BAT Expanding 3,600-Strong Roster of Endorsement Talent; Building Out First Consumer Offering
Irvine, Calif. — August 24, 2010— Brand Affinity Technologies (BAT), the company reinventing endorsement and celebrity marketing, has closed a $20 million Series C round led by Miramar Venture Partners, with existing investors Newport Coast Investments, RimLight Capital, Fulcrum Venture Capital, and ad pepper media International also participating. Also joining in the financing through their CGI Opportunity Fund II is the Ueberroth Family, experts in worldwide sports and marketing.
The funding comes as BAT is poised to double year-over-year revenues to $30 million in 2010, while expanding its celebrity endorsement roster by 177 percent.* BAT's technology and service offerings include: a sophisticated research engine that provides daily affinity intelligence on more than 38,000 celebrities; a Platform that advertisers use to identify and secure endorsement talent; and the recently launched netBAT (www.netbat.com), a consumer-facing service that transforms celebrity-related editorial images and articles on leading news and lifestyle websites into interactive experiences stocked with highly relevant multimedia apps. The investment will fuel the continued build-out of netBAT, extension of BAT's Endorsement Platform into music and other celebrity categories, and international expansion.
"BAT has quickly proven its ability to convert innovation to significant market penetration and revenue," said Bruce Hallett, Managing Director, of Miramar Venture Partners. "BAT understands the marketing power of celebrities from both a business and consumer perspective, and is using technology to address large-scale market inefficiencies with strong results."
BAT was created by Ryan and Chad Steelberg, who together founded and operated three successful companies prior to BAT: dMarc (sold to Google in 2006), AdForce (sold to CMGi in 1999), and 2CAN Media (also sold to CMGi in 1999). Since 1996, the Steelbergs have raised more than $150 million in equity financing, managed more than 400 employees and created in excess of $3.0 billion in shareholder value through their previous ventures.
Since coming to market 18 months ago, BAT has powered innovative cross-media endorsement campaigns for powerhouse advertisers such as AT&T, Ford, Comcast, Intuit, and Samsung. More than 3,600 celebrities have signed on to BAT's Endorsement Platform, including marquee active and retired players in nearly every sport, such as Drew Brees (NFL), Jorge Posada (MLB), Rajon Rondo (NBA), Brooks Robinson (MLB -- Hall of Fame), Walt Frazier (NBA -- Hall of Fame), and Lennox Lewis (Boxing), as well as Olympic athletes.
"The power of celebrity is universal, and we are committed to providing advertisers and marketers with a diversified suite of technology solutions and services that leverage celebrity brands, and maximize their effectiveness," said Ryan Steelberg, President and CEO of Brand Affinity Technologies. "This financing will provide the growth capital required to continue to expand and refine our market-leading service offerings, for our advertising, media, and celebrity clients."
San Francisco-based GCA Savvian Advisors, LLC advised Brand Affinity Technologies on the transaction.
About Brand Affinity Technologies (BAT)
Founded in 2007, BAT (http://brandaffinity.net) unlocks the marketing power of celebrity through research, endorsements, and interactive experiences. BAT's research engine provides daily analysis of more than 38,000 celebrities and athletes. Advertisers use this analysis on BAT's Endorsement Platform to identify, license, and activate the most effective talent for their campaigns. Currently available endorsement talent includes more than 3,600 athletes and celebrities. BAT also leverages its research engine to engage consumers directly through netBAT (www.netbat.com), which transforms celebrity content into interactive app experiences on leading websites. Learn more about BAT in Fortune Magazine at www.fortune.com/bat. Connect with BAT on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BrandAffinityTech and Twitter:@BATimpact.