WPP funnels investment into in-game adtech firm Anzu

WPP awards $6.5m to adtech startup Anzu

An Israeli adtech startup specializing in integrating advertising in video games has secured $6.5m from three backers, including WPP.

A series A funding round reaped funding from from WPP and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, as well as lead investor Bitkraft Esports Ventures.

Anzu said it has developed technology capable of optimizing common advertising elements such as images, banners, videos and HTML5 for use within virtual environments, without distracting players or interfering with the core gameplay.

These ads can be targeted with high precision to specific players through programmatic technology.

[More: WPP marketing chief Laurent Ezekiel on building the brand]

In providing the necessary tools, Anzu hopes to convince big name brands to take the plunge into a potentially huge new display market fueled by the rapid growth of esports, opening a door to brands looking to stake a claim on comparatively virgin territory across PlayStation, Xbox, PC and mobile gaming.

Itamar Benedy, Anzu’s co-founder and chief executive, said: "I am thrilled to build a strategic partnership with Bitkraft, WPP and Axel Springer Digital Ventures to further our mission to be at the forefront of ad tech innovation.

"We will continue to push the boundaries of the advertising world as we apply the time-tested ad tactics used in the physical world to the gaming and e-sports industries to transform them into a premium revenue engine while enabling marketers to tap into pop culture through games.”

Anzu has also partnered with ad verification and fraud-prevention platform CHEQ.

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