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New digital ad startup from industry veteran

By   /   Thursday, October 21st, 2010  /   Comments Off on New digital ad startup from industry veteran

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[Editor’s Note: See correction below.]

One of the Tri-Counties’ most successful digital display advertising veterans is back in the game with a new startup.

Dave Gross co-founded Fastclick, which went public and was bought Westlake Village-based ValueClick in 2005 for $220 million. Since then, Gross has quietly invested with several regional startups.

But with Connexity, Gross is diving back into the digital media and advertising business. The new venture will use social networking and recommendation engine database concepts – the same stuff that predicts who you might know on Facebook and what movies might appeal to you on Netflix – to make digital ads more relevant to the users they’re served up to.

“We will have the technological ability to target not just the individual, but under the right circumstances, their spouse, someone else in their household or someone they work with,” Gross told the Business Times.

Connexity is being funded with an undisclosed amount of seed capital from Persistence Partners, the new name for Great Pacific Capital, the venture fund founded by Gross and several partners after the Fastclick sale. The new company is looking for headquarters in Camarillo or Ventura.

Gross is not the only digital advertising veteran to return to the industry with a new venture.

This year, early members of Santa Barbara-based Commission Junction, another firm that was acquired by ValueClick, started Impact Radius, a startup that will bring commission-based advertising to print and broadcast. A co-founder of AdECN, a Carpinteria-based digital ad network sold to Microsoft, has started The Trade Desk, a Ventura-based media trading platform. Last year, Santa Barbara-based RingRevenue rose from the ashes of CallWave to make phone calls trackable like clicks.

[Correction: This story originally misstated facts about Fastclick’s founding and sale. Gross was Fastclick’s founding CEO, and ValueClick acquired Fastclick after Fastclick had gone public.]
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