Rubicon Project Aims to Automate Online Advertising

Fivetime entrepreneur Frank Addante is hoping to shake up online advertising even more than Google did with his new company, Rubicon Project. Today, he’s launching it in beta with 500 Web sites a system that he says will much more efficiently match publishers’ ad inventory with the appropriate ads served by some 125 300 ad networks out there—sort of an eHarmony for ad networks and publishers.

Google created a business now worth $185 billion by making online advertising more efficient, but clearly there’s much more room to improve. “It’s still a massively inefficient market,” says Sumant Mandal, managing director at Clearstone Venture Partners, Rubicon’s key investor.

Rubicon’s product is a self-service system that can break down a site’s audience into ad segments and match them with the ad network that best serves that particular segment. The demo looks pretty interesting, though I must admit that I can’t tell from a demo how well the system will work in practice. There’s a lot more detail on Addante’s blog.

The company has $6 million in funding, $4 million from Clearstone and $2 million in venture debt from Square 1 Bank. Addante is best known for L90/adMonitor, which was sold to DoubleClick, now awaiting what looks like a long and uncertain approval process for a $3 billion purchase by Google.

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