A Post-Vitam

by on July 19, 2012

We are pleased for the founders, employees, and fellow shareholders of Vizu, as the company announced a successful acquisition by Nielsen.  Reflecting back on what made Vizu a successful investment is always useful.

Our investment in Vizu began with the thesis that we should invest in the areas where the gap between online and offline advertising spending versus consumers time spent was most acute. Brand advertising was where we felt the largest transition from offline to online advertising was yet to occur.   An analysis we did at the time showed that if just the Top 10 Advertisers (basically all brand advertisers) shifted their ad spend in line with the media consumption habits of their audience, then the interactive advertising market would increase by 45%.  Here is the (old) chart.

Our first investment against this thesis was Collective, which has grown to be a category leader.  Other investments have included OggiFinogi, Babble, and Vizu, which have all enjoyed attractive exits. Resonate Networks, TagMan, Chango, uKnow, 33Across, and Media Armor continue to prosper.

The other key ingredient was partnering with stellar management teams to help us pursue this opportunity. We are very pleased with the founders and management teams that choose us.  This aspect is exemplified by Dan Beltramo and his team, who at the time we invested were just emerging from a difficult pivot to focus on brand measurement.  It took them less than three years to become the category leader and default measurement tool for brand advertisers online.  It is fitting that Nielsen, who has a similar position in Television, is the acquirer.

There were other important aspects that lead to a successful outcome, such as a strong board and great co-investors, but the first two elements, the teams and the market thesis, were the most important ones that demonstrate persistence across multiple investments.

Congratulations to the Vizu team and thanks for including us on a terrific journey.