Google Buys Into Invidi

Google is the lead investor in a new $23 million round of financing for addressable technology firm Invidi, the companies confirmed today.

It’s the first time the search engine giant has invested in Invidi, which specializes in systems that enable TV ad sellers to distribute ads to select groups of viewers, down to the individual household level. Google began selling TV ads several years ago and has indicated in recent months that it remains committed to that business, both through Google TV Ads and subsidiary YouTube.

The companies already share a common connection: Dish Network. Google TV Ads has an ongoing arrangement to sell Dish inventory, while Dish is participating in a trial of Invidi’s ad delivery system.

Other investors in the financing round include WPP’s GroupM, set-top box maker Motorola and venture capital firm Menlo Ventures, InterWest and EnerTech. It’s the second investment made by GroupM in Invidi.

“Google and GroupM share our vision that addressability will transform television advertising by increasing effectiveness and eliminating wasted reach,” said Invidi CEO David Downey. “They want to play an active role in shaping this revolution.”

As a result of the investment, Shishir Mehrotra, director of product management for Google TV Ads and YouTube Ads, has joined Invidi’s board of directors.

In addition, the two companies said they would work together on “unspecified projects of mutual interest.” The companies declined to identify the projects at this time.

“Invidi Technologies is actively advancing the growth of addressable technologies, which brings more relevance to TV viewership and advertising,” Mehrotra said. “We’re happy to join Invidi’s investors, and we’re looking forward to seeing continued progress in this space.”

GroupM CEO Irwin Gotlieb, who also sits on the Invidi board, said about the new funding: “GroupM strongly believes that addressable technology and advanced advertising functionality are critical to the future of television and other media.” As an industry leader in the buying and planning of TV ad time, he said,  “we have a responsibility to our clients to act as a catalyst on all developments in this arena, and our continued investment in Invidi reflects this objective.”