Today San Francisco-based Skyscraper announced that it has raised $500,000 in seed funding led by Howard Lindzon and Tom Peterson of Social Leverage, with participation from several angel investors. The round was raised online using AngelList’s new Docs feature, one of the first rounds to close since it was introduced. They also announced a name change today, rebranding from former name Skyscrpr. The platform helps online publishers manage their advertising, letting them sell directly to advertisers instead of using a third-party service, and currently has almost 2,000 publishers in the private beta.
BetaKit first covered Skyscraper before it launched in private beta, when it announced that it had joined Vancouver startup accelerator GrowLab. Co-founder Paul Burger said they’ll be using the funding to build out the team, and to further build out the product, which is currently in private beta after a brief public beta period earlier this fall. “We were somewhat overwhelmed by the initial early traction, so we wanted to kind of really take a step back, get our funding in place, and then really focus on product so that we were killing it with the experience,” Burger said.
If a publisher doesn’t have an advertiser lined up for a specific period of time, they can use Skyscraper’s internal inventory, and track which ads are being displayed in a visual dashboard. The company said in May it would take a percentage of all impressions served, but when it launched in private beta in August it was offering the platform for free. While initially Burger said the platform was targeted at smaller publishers like independent bloggers, he said when they open it up in public beta again they’ll probably have tiered subscription plans to cater to different impressions or publisher sizes. Though pricing is still being worked out, it will likely be a monthly subscription fee and a percentage of each impression served.
“What we found is that the problem we’re trying to solve, the direct sales problem, is really kind of universal no matter how big you are,” he said. “So we were actually quite surprised at the size of some of the sites we ended up attracting.”