Israeli startup OpenWeb, the company that calls itself the premium audience relationship platform, announced a $150 million Series E funding round on Tuesday.
The round was led by New York-based global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners and Georgian Partners. Technology investor Omer Cygler, Harel, and Entrée Capital also participated in this round. Additionally, the round was joined by the company’s first strategic investors, including The New York Times Company, Dentsu and Samsung Next, as well as individual investor Professor Scott Galloway, who has joined the company’s Board of Directors.
The round propels OpenWeb to unicorn status, and the company is now valued at over $1 billion.
Founded in 2012, OpenWeb builds technologies to create engaged communities, reduce toxicity, and increase safety, aiming to improve the quality of civil discourse and support independent journalism. OpenWeb’s technology is used by more than 1,000 publishers including Hearst, Yahoo!, Penske Media Corporation, and News Corp., to gain independence from traditional social media by fueling millions of high-quality conversations across thousands of communities with more than one hundred million monthly users.
The OpenWeb team says they will leverage this investment to create a safer, democratized alternative to existing social media platforms by empowering publishers and brands across verticals with tools to build first-party data relationships with their audiences.
“This Series E marks a big step forward in our mission to improve online conversations,” said Nadav Shoval, co-founder and CEO of OpenWeb. “The future of a sustainable open web depends on the ability to facilitate safe experiences while empowering destinations to build first-party data relationships with their audiences. We raised this round of investment to double down on our mission, and to bring those safer experiences to new verticals and new markets.”
OpenWeb’s push to empower publishers and brands across the web is timely. With the coming depreciation of third-party cookies, publishers and brands are in search of ways to build lasting, first-party data relationships with audiences while ensuring brand and user safety. By scaling its operations, OpenWeb says it is aiming to position itself to provide robust solutions to these problems.
“Especially as our lives have increasingly moved online over the past year and a half, online conversation has become more important than ever,” said Matthew Lloyd-Thomas, Director of Corporate Development from The New York Times Company. “As a leader in global news, we are proud to make this investment. OpenWeb’s mission of combating toxicity in online conversations and empowering publishers to develop direct relationships with their audiences deeply resonates with us.”
OpenWeb plans to expand its global presence with new offices in Canada, the Asia-Pacific China (APAC) region, and the Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) region. The team is also exploring strategic acquisitions to enhance its product offerings.