Content may be king, but choice makes a convincing claim to the crown. Just as it takes talented producers, directors, writers, and technicians to create great content, it takes a similarly amazing team and technology to serve customers exactly what they want, when they want it – including, importantly, the advertising to support it.
That’s exactly what I found when I met the leaders of FreeWheel who, as of today, will be joining Comcast. It is clear that Comcast sees in FreeWheel what we hoped the world would eventually see back when we first invested.
Before Foundation Capital invested back in 2009, we had been closely watching the evolution of the on- video streaming market for years. We were early investors in Netflix, and were seeing the transition it was making from DVDs to streaming. We had also invested in Conviva, a video experience management platform that was working closely with NBC to build out their online video platform. We realized that as ad supported content distributors made the transition online, they would need a monetization platform that enabled them to offer ad products akin to TV.
The industry needed the video equivalent of DoubleClick – and who better to lead that charge than veterans of DoubleClick?
Together, Doug Knopper, Jon Heller, and Diane Yu put FreeWheel smack in the middle of a massive spending shift from traditional TV advertising to Internet advertising.
From day one, FreeWheel has provided unparalleled expertise to augment its industry-leading technology. Because there is no “standard gauge” for streaming technology, they connect their clients with different systems, run-time environments, and the latest devices – so FreeWheel is ready to serve no matter when, where, or how customers want to watch.
By partnering with the industry-leading ad-serving platform, Comcast – both a content creator and provider – will better integrate its offering and better serve its customers.
In the five years since Foundation Capital invested, FreeWheel has continued to innovate and grow. Today, its clients include some of the largest media companies in the world – including Comcast’s parent NBC Universal and others ranging from AOL and Viacom to Dish and DirecTV to AT&T and Fox. In addition, we have continued to invest behind the next generation of start-ups in online video, including TubeMogul, the leading video advertising platform for brand advertisers and AdRise, an emerging player in the Connected TV space.
At Foundation Capital, we couldn’t be prouder of what the team at FreeWheel has accomplished to date, and what it is poised to become in the future. One day not too long from now, all television content will be viewed online, and – we hope – all video ads will be served through FreeWheel.