WPP makes series A investment in video game advertising platform Anzu.io

Communications firm WPP has backed Tel Aviv-based adtech startup Anzu,io Inc in a $6.5m (€5.7m) series A funding round.

Founded in 2016, Anzu’s platform optimizes common creative advertising elements such as images, banners, videos, and HTML5 ads, blending them into video games without disrupting the user experience and gameplay. As a result of being able to hyper-target end-users, Anzu also enables game developers to keep monetizing the same player in different ways and scenarios, with real-time data tracking and optimisation.

Itamar Benedy, Anzu.io’s chief executive officer said: “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 esports industries, to transform them into a premium revenue engine while enabling marketers to tap into pop culture through games.”

WPP owns a number of advertising, public relations, media and market research networks, including Ogilvy, J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam, Grey, IMRB, Millward Brown, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, TNS, GroupM, and Cohn & Wolfe.

Berlin-headquartered digital publisher Axel Springer SE, and esports venture capital fund Bitkraft also participated in the round, which brought Anzu’s total funding raised to date to $8m (€7.1m) .

Video game revenue in 2018 reached a new peak of $43.8 billion, up 18 percent from the previous years, according to data released by the Entertainment Software Association and The NPD Group.