Vungle, a mobile ad startup that focuses on 15-second, in-app videos, is announcing that it has raised $17 million in Series B funding. It's only been six months since the company announced its $6.5 million Series A. CEO Zain Jaffer said Vungle didn't need to raise more money, but the additional funding will allow the company to be "a lot more aggressive." Apparently Jaffer's plans include tripling headcount by the end of the year (Vungle currently employs around 50 people) and growing internationally, particularly in Asia. The company is also in the "final stages" of building what it says will be "the first-ever in-app mobile video ad exchange." That's going to be important for bringing brand advertisers on-board, Jaffer said. Until now, most of Vungle's ads have been trailers for other apps, but with the exchange, brands can easily repurpose their TV ad content for mobile. Jaffer added that his goal is to become "a full monetization platform for publishers," and that Vungle will be launching more monetization products later this year. In talking about the company's broader vision, he noted that he was about to become a father (in fact, he was on the phone with me just a few hours before his wife gave birth yesterday — how's that for dedication?), and that children are increasingly accustomed to interactive, touch-based interfaces. "They're not going to tolerate the crappy experiences that exist today," he said. "If no company pushes the envelope, the future is going to look like an awful place." Will building video ad products really help with that? Jaffer argued that it will, because Vungle is building "the plumbing" for the industry to move away from "intrusive and annoying" banner ads. The Series B was led by Thomvest Ventures, with participation from previous backers Crosslink Capital, Google Ventures, AOL Ventures, SoftTech VC, and Webb Investment Network. (AOL owns TechCrunch.) Thomvest managing director Don Butler is joining the Vungle board. The company says 100 million people see Vungle Ads every month.
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