Deal Watch: Making a splash with interactive ads

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

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THEY’RE THE DEMOGRAPHIC that makes advertisers drool: the 13- to 29-year-old online audience. Right now they’re spending most of their online time on social networking websites like MySpace or Facebook — not on traditional websites. Too bad for advertisers, since usual methods like banner ads aren’t very hot in that environment.

Last year SplashCast launched its solution: socially interactive ads. So far it’s a hit. Its clients range from Sony/BMG and National Public Radio to MTV and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“We don’t ask audiences to change their habits and go to a destination site like ESPN. That’s not how they spend their time anymore,” says company founder and CEO Michael Berkley.

In March, 14-month-old SplashCast announced it had raised $2.7 million to complete a $4 million funding round led by Mark Bayliss, an investor and senior executive for one of Australia’s largest media companies, Fairfax Holdings. Bayliss now sits on the company board; he was brought in by board member and former Nike exec Charlie Baker.

Think of SplashCast as an interactive television channel where viewers also play games or shop or listen to songs, and advertisers change content when needed. But here’s the moneymaker: Viewers can send any video to their friends so they can put them on their own MySpace or Facebook page. That’s how the advertising is spread, via social networks. Ads aren’t just watched, they’re played with. And they’re played with because they come from friends, says Berkley.

Is it working? The company says those videos are viewed 1.3 million times each day. Every month 8.5 million individual users interact with the videos.

Berkley has two main goals for the funding, much of which came from angel investors in the Pacific Northwest: grow the company from its current eight employees to around 20, and create an aggressive marketing plan.           

ABRAHAM HYATT

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
ANNOUNCED EXP. CLOSE BUYER / PARENT (HQ) SELLER (HQ) / PARENT PRICE (TERMS)
13-Mar Q2 ‘08 AVI BioPharma (Portland) Ercole Biotech (NC) $8.9M (stock + assumed debt)
24-Mar ND L-1 Identity Solutions (CT) ID Systems business/Digimarc (Beaverton) $250M (cash + stock)
24-Mar Q2 ‘08 Crisp (UK) IMSafer (Beaverton) ND
26-Mar Q1 ‘08 Rim Semiconductor (Portland) Multi-Carrier Communications/ Utek (FL) ND
31-Mar Q2 ‘08 Bullivant Houser Bailey PC (Portland) Jacobs & Ferraro (CA) ND
31-Mar Q2 ‘08 Greenbrier Companies (Lake Oswego) American Allied Railway Equipment Company (IL) $83M (cash)
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
ANNOUNCED BUYER / PARENT (HQ) REAL ESTATE (LOCATION) / SELLER (HQ) PRICE
11-Mar Pacific Northwest College of Art Federal Building (Portland) / U.S. Government ND
11-Mar Urban Renaissance Group; Great Point Investors Morgan Building (Portland) / RREEF; LA County Employees Retirement Association $27.55M
19-Mar KBS Realty Advisors Evergreen Park industrial campus (Hillsboro) / UBS Realty Investors $16.15M
19-Mar Maple Properties Berry Hill Shopping Center (Oregon City) / R&B Kiggins $8.6M
24-Mar NBS Real Estate Capital (Portland); Su Casa Properties (CA) apartment complex (UT) / ND $4.88M
24-Mar MCGD industrial building (Clackamas) / Indal Corporation $1.92M
24-Mar PM Industries industrial property (Beaverton) / Tri County Warehouse $3.2M
24-Mar Schonert Properties industrial land (Clackamas) / Clackamas Commons III $1.77M
26-Mar Unico Properties Rivercrest Meadows Apts. (Tualatin) / Simpson Housing $38.7M
31-Mar JB Matteson (CA) Harrison Tower Apartments (Portland) / Portland Center Investors $45M
31-Mar Integrita E Perseveranza industrial building (Beaverton) / Tri-County Moving and Storage $3.2M
31-Mar Commerce Investment King Tower Apartments (Portland) / Harsch Investment Properties $26M
31-Mar Pringle Construction Durham Park Apartments (Tigard) / 6 investment groups $24.8M
CAPITAL RAISING
ANNOUNCED COMPANY (HQ) / LEADERSHIP INVESTOR (HQ) PRICE (TERMS)
11-Mar Pulse Health (Portland) / Chris Marsh, CEO Undisclosed angel investors (CA, WA, OR) $2.15M (Series A)
13-Mar Nike (Beaverton) / Mark Parker, president and CEO Undisclosed Investor (MO) $50M (debt)
14-Mar Davenport Power (Bend & CT) / Hiram A. Bingham, chairman & CEO US Renewables Group; Riverstone Holdings (NY) ND
19-Mar Oregon State University (Corvallis) / Dr. Edward Ray, president anonymous donor $5M (gift)
20-Mar SplashCast (Portland) / Michael Berkley, CEO and founder Emergent (Portland); Mark Bayliss (Australia) $2.7M (Series A)
20-Mar Genesis Financial Solutions (Portland) / Irving Levin, CEO The Edgewater Funds ND (equity)
27-Mar Iovation (Portland) / Greg Pierson, CEO SAP Ventures and European Founders Fund $5M (Series A)

List researched by Mark Druskoff

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