Digital Dealmakers: Tod Sacerdoti

Oct 2, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The player: Tod Sacerdoti, founder and CEO of POSTRoller, a San Francisco-based online ad network

The play: As advertisers rush into online video, POSTRoller is operating as a pure-play video ad network. “We help publishers of online video monetize their traffic by connecting their users with advertisers,” Mr. Sacerdoti said. POSTRoller’s task is to make every video stream on a Web site profitable by pairing it with a video, text or banner ad. POSTRoller has served ads on sites such as Break.com, Blip.tv and automotive site Streetfire.net. The company rolled out its ad-matching technology May 31.

The pitch: The secret sauce in POSTRoller is its software that contextually matches ads to video content. That helps advertisers peddle their wares in front of content that works thematically. “Our competitive differentiator is we leverage context in delivering ads,” Mr. Sacerdoti said. POSTRoller also works with small and large advertisers and could, for instance, match automotive content with car-maker ads as well as ads for race car driving schools and monster truck rallies, he explained.

The pros: Online video is the fastest-growing segment of the $16.7 billion Internet advertising market and will increase more than 71 percent this year, according to eMarketer. The research firm said Internet video ad dollars will hit $640 million in 2007, nearly triple the $225 million of 2005.

The cons: POSTRoller isn’t alone. Web publishers are developing their own contextual ad systems, while giants like Google are also seeking to extend their ad expertise to match video ads to relevant content.

The money guys: Mr. Sacerdoti founded POSTRoller earlier this year while still working for Plaxo, the online address book service. POSTRoller was self-funded at launch in January and received an undisclosed cash infusion last month led by True Ventures.

The backstory: Mr. Sacerdoti, 29, was born and raised in Palo Alto, Calif. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale and an MBA from Stanford. He served as director of business development at enterprise software firm Spoke Software and most recently served as director of revenue and business development for Plaxo. He has also worked for Interscope, Geffen, A&M Records and Robertson Stephens. He is married and lives in San Francisco.

The history: While at Plaxo, Mr. Sacerdoti helped craft a deal with YouTube late last year to provide address book functionality to the video-sharing site. That deal sparked his interest in helping sites with significant video traffic to monetize their audiences.

Who knew?

When Mr. Sacerdoti was in high school he played a mean game of badminton and was the second-ranked player under 18 in the United States. He received an offer to train at the Olympics training center, but opted to attend college instead.