Index Ventures in double deal

The European venture firm is backing two cash generative internet businesses, an open source ad server and a provider of real-time, personalised recommendations to millions of users of eCommerce websites.

Index Ventures, a European venture firm, has led a €7 million ($10.4 million) series B funding round in Criteo, which provides collaborative filtering to users of eCommerce websites and advertising platforms. The firm has simultaneously followed on in a $15.5 million funding of an open source ad server.

Ad serving technology companies provide software to web sites and advertisers to serve ads, count them, choose the ads that will make the website or advertiser most money, and monitor progress of different advertising campaigns.

The Criteo round included earlier investors AGF Private Equity and Elaia Partners, bringing the total financing of the company to €10 million. The latest funding will allow Criteo, a company founded two years ago in France, to expand into other markets, including the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. Aelios Finance was financial advisor to Criteo.

Bernard Dallé, a partner at Index, who worked on both investments, said: “We liked the way [Criteo] implements painlessly on to any website. It observes what’s going on, segments and recommends to users.” He said the investment would allow the company to expand geographically and to hire sales and marketing executives.

Dallé said Index would use its network to help the business recruit. “It is part of our added value. We can interview and refer and, importantly, lend credibility that this is a business where the best candidates would want to work.”

The venture firm has also participated in a $15.5 million series B round led by US firm Accel Partners to back Openads, the developer of a free, open source ad server used by more than 30,000 publishers worldwide.

Index led the previous round of funding alongside First Round Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Openads will use the funds to accelerate product development and expand its team to support its publisher community.

Dallé said: “If you want to win in global online advertising, you have to win in the US and to do that you have to be in the US. You need a physical presence. That is why we selected Accel to help us recruit in the US.”

He said the Openads’s model of open source code was free to publishers and gave them an conflict-free alternative to other providers such as DoubleClick, which is being bought by Google. Dallé said: “With Openads you can use whoever offers the best rate whether it’s Google or Yahoo, in the knowledge there is no bias.”