Google ups its TV bet, invests in Invidi

Search giant is leading a $23 million funding round for Invidi, which is working on TV ads that target specific viewers via set-top box data.

Peter Kafka

Google, which is still trying to figure out how to crack the TV business, has invested in a tech firm trying to do the same thing.

The search giant is leading a $23 million series D round in Invidi Technologies, a New York City company that works on "addressable" TV ads. Addressable ads are supposed to target specific viewers, using data from set-top boxes, in the same way that Internet ads sniff out specific Web surfers.

You can see why Google would be interested in that stuff, particularly as it tries to integrate its Android platform into TVs.

Shishir Mehotra, who runs product management for all of Google's video businesses, will join Invidi's board.

Addressable ads are a holy grail for the TV business, but they may still be several years away. Invidi, founded in 2000, has completed two market trials to date.

People familiar with the transaction tell me Google has invested between $10 million and $15 million in company in this round, which brings Invidi's total capital raised above the $85 million mark. Other investors include WPP's GroupM, Motorola, Menlo Ventures, InterWest Partners and EnerTech Capital.

The Business Insider, which first reported the investment, says the transaction is connected to Google's ad pact with the Dish satellite network. But I'm told Dish doesn't factor into the deal.