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NASA photo of a rocket soaring above the cloudsRocket Fuel, a four-year-old ad technology firm out of Redwood Shores, Calif., today announced $50 million in additional funding, along with a larger pool of financial players. The company has now pulled in $76 million in total funding.

The company uses what it terms “artificial intelligence advertising,” to buy advertising for marketers, injecting their own special sauce to soup-up the ads’ effectiveness in a sea of advertising opportunities available each day.

“In an age where artificial intelligence can win at chess and Jeopardy, we’re betting on AI to solve the biggest challenge in advertising today: how to deliver exactly the right ad, to exactly the right person, at exactly the right time, continuously, and automatically, to generate amazing results for the agencies and advertisers we work with,” Rocket Fuel chief executive George John tells VentureBeat.

Rocket Fuel’s AI platform works by continuously learning how to detect patterns in consumer behavior, resulting in better bang for advertisers’ buck, John explains.

“And the great thing is , it works for any marketing objective — from selling pizzas, to building brand awareness for shampoo, or driving likes for reality TV shows,” he adds.

From that, Rocket Fuel says it grossed $45 million in 2011, minus the cost of purchasing advertising.

Those numbers may have been what attracted Summit Partners and Cross Creek Capital to this latest rounding of funding, alongside originally backer including Nokia Growth Capital.

“It really feels like we have a sweet spot in time,” Rocket Fuel chief executive George John said in a statement. “Rocket Fuel has pulled away from the pack in the ad technology space, and our investors clearly recognized our leadership position and potential for more global growth in the years to come,” the CEO claims.

The company intends to beef-up its international presence during 2012. Already, Rocket Fuel has offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. The firm will also increase its employee count by 50 percent. It plans to hire 100 new workers in addition to the 206 already on the payroll.

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