Backed by Voyager Capital, Keystream Takes on Video Advertising

Seattle-based Voyager Capital has been investing pretty aggressively in software and digital media startups up and down the West Coast, as we reported back in September. Today, one of its portfolio companies, Mountain View, CA-based Keystream, emerged from stealth mode to announce its new product, management team, and investors. Voyager Capital led a funding round for Keystream that closed earlier this year—the companies did not disclose the exact timing or amount—and angel investors participated as well.

Keystream has developed video-analysis software that automatically inserts ads into online video content. It works by identifying subject matter on the screen and then placing ads in selected blank spaces—the key is how to do that without getting in the way of the video and annoying viewers. The company was founded in 2004 by Schuyler Cullen and Edward Ratner, who have filed eight patents on the technology. Cullen is the chief executive, while Ratner is president of research and development; they are joined by vice president of business development John Varney, who was previously chief technology officer at the BBC.

Enrique Godreau, a managing director at Voyager Capital (and a hardcore tech guy himself), has joined Keystream’s board of advisors. In a statement, he said the company’s technology “is extremely unique and its application to intuitive online ad insertion pioneers an innovative and lucrative digital marketing solution.”

For now, it appears Keystream is targeting both advertisers and publishers. It will be interesting to see how many sites adopt this kind of ad technology, and whether viewers will put up with it.

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