Austin, Texas-based startup KERV raised $12 million in a growth round in May, led by venture capital firm Trinity Capital Inc, bringing its total of $30 million since its founding in 2017.
The startup, whose clients include Macy’s, Lexus, and Apple, pitches technology that makes video ads shoppable. KERV uses machine learning and AI to recognize items featured in ads, matches the items to a brand’s products, and inserts links that people can click on to buy the product.
KERV’s technology works with digital video, streaming TV, and social platforms like TikTok. CEO Gary Mittman said that his firm also has a product that will allow advertisers and publishers integrate product placements into TV shows. He’s banking on this product taking off as media companies like NBCUniversal and Amazon roll out the ability to digitally insert product placements.
“We’ve invested five years and millions of dollars building a platform that provides a new innovative solution for in-show monetization,” Mittman said.
Mittman said KERV will use its fresh funds to grow its operations and media-buying teams. The company will also use the money to enhance a product placement feature that recognizes what each show is about.
Here are the key slides from KERV’s growth round investor deck.
KERV’s AI technology recognizes products.
The technology can identify people, logos, and products.
The technology matches the pixels in images.
Its ad formats include QR codes for streaming TV ads and TikTok ads
Pausing a TV show pulls up a QR code-enabled ad.
KERV shows what its TikTok ads look like for different sectors.
Brands can add links that direct consumers to multiple retailers.