Video monetization platform ZEFR could be looking to extend its advertising reach beyond YouTube with its acquisition of social advertising startup Engodo. Last week ZEFR entered into a purchase agreement with the Salt Lake City, Utah-based startup in what appears to be a cash-and-stock deal, according to an SEC filing. A person with knowledge of the situation has confirmed the acquisition to TechCrunch but wouldn’t provide details about terms of the deal.
ZEFR got its start in 2009 as MovieClips, a site that was founded on the idea of licensing short video clips from movie studios and monetizing them online. As time went on, the company shifted its focus to first identifying and later monetizing user-submitted content on behalf of content producers and brands.
It bolstered that brand focus last year with the launch of its BrandID product, which is designed to help advertisers identify videos of fans talking about their products and to engage with them. By doing so, advertisers are able to reach whole new audiences they didn’t have access to previously, simply by letting their fans speak for them.
So far, though, that has all been done on YouTube. With the acquisition of Engodo, ZEFR could provide access to audiences on a wide range of other social platforms.
Engodo markets itself as a “social influencer advertising platform” that connects brands, agencies, and media buyers with publishers who produce content for a wide range of different networks. That includes traditional blogs, as well as social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Vine and of course, YouTube.
The company was founded in 2011 by Salt Lake City techies Trygve Jensen and Brock Luker to provide tools for publishers to more easily share on social networks, and for advertisers to connect with them. In 2013 they were joined by CTO Neal Williams, who had previously run a company called Corda Technologies that was acquired by business intelligence startup Domo. (Fun fact: Domo is the brainchild of Omniture founder Josh James, who also happens to be the brother of ZEFR co-founder Zach James.)
By combining Engodo with its existing platform and sales team, ZEFR could offer media buyers a huge new network of influencers to create and promote native advertising across their channels. By doing so, ZEFR won’t be quite as reliant on YouTube as a platform for monetization, and it also opens things up for a whole new group of fast-growing markets.
ZEFR has raised a total of $53 million since being founded, including a big, $30 million round of funding this February from IVP. Other investors include U.S. Venture Partners, Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital and Richmond Park Partners.