Media

NetShelter raises $15M for its ad network of tech influencers

NetShelter, an advertising network built around influential tech sites, has raised $15 million in a second round of funding.

(Disclosure: NetShelter sells some of VentureBeat’s advertising.)

The San Francisco company says its network now includes more than 200 sites in mobile, IT, and consumer electronics, including MacRumors, SlashGear, and CrackBerry. The network reached 133 million unique visitors in the month of August, according to numbers supplied by the company. But cofounder and chief executive Peyman Nilforoush said the most important thing about those sites isn’t the number of eyeballs they draw — it’s the fact that they’re highly influential in their particular product area, making their readers a good target for compelling, customized advertising campaigns.

This focus on influencers makes NetShelter a valuable partner, Nilforoush said, as brand marketers increasingly look for data beyond the number of ad clicks to see “How do I impact my brand? How do I create something that’s going to make an impression?” And that has kept NetShelter growing, with a 75 percent increase in revenue between 2009 and 2008.

The new funding was led by Rho Ventures, with participation by existing investors Rho Canada and JLA Ventures.

Nilforoush said the money will be used to launch a new set of tools for publishers and marketers that should use the Netshelter’s data about “influencer buying behavior” to create ad campaigns that are even more effective at promoting brands. It will also be used to fund NetShelter’s international expansion.

The company was founded as a Web hosting provider by Peyman Nilforoush and his brother Pirouz in 1999, but it didn’t launch its ad network until 2006. NetShelter has now raised a total of $27.6 million.

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