Bizo CEO Russell Glass doesn’t want you to see his clients’ ads. Unless you’re a top-level exec whose browser cookie says you have lots of money and like to spend it.
“We are putting 100 percent of the impressions in front of execs,” Glass told me on the phone while discussing the company’s second round of funding. VentureBeat reported the funding via SEC filings last week, but only now is Glass talking about the whole story of what Bizo (pronounced biz-oh, as in business) plans to do next.
The San Francisco-based company, founded in May of 2008, brokers ads targeted only to qualified browsers that have been cookied with demographic info that appeals to advertisers like American Express and Hoover’s. Bizo sets the cookies by buying user data and member info from companies that share it.
“We basically create like an anonmyous business card that the user carries around on the web,” Glass explained. They may not be aware of it, but they’ll be getting ads for luxury cars instead of family vans.
You can see Bizo’s demographic settings for the cookies in your browser by clicking here. Glass claims Bizo now reaches 45 million targeted business people across thousands of sites. As a result, he sounds less worried about other B2B boutiques and more about Google’s DoubleClick ad network somehow cracking the executive-ad market. LinkedIn is a more direct competitor, since it can target ads incredibly tightly to its members’ careers, positions, locations, and other personal factors provided.
Right now, most of the money aimed at influencing traditional fatcats is spent offline, not on internet ads. Bizo’s main strategy isn’t to steal ad buys from other small players, but to persuade advertisers to ditch magazine spreads and TV ads for internet ads that they can guarantee will only be seen by ideal audience members. Many companies, such as RingRevenue, tout this same mission. Why fight over scraps when you can reel the big fish onto the net?
Hundred-year-old firm Bessemer Venture Partners led the second round, but prior investors Venrock, Vulcan and Ascent all joined in again, too. The purpose of the funding is to continue building out the network and refining the analytic tools, the two most tempting lures for trolling high-end advertisers who haven’t been hooked yet by online advertising. Glass sounds like many other advertising people when he says, “The thing we’re fighting is that most advertising dollars are still spent offline.”