Media Shines Spotlight on Two Companies with Haas Origins

Two Bay Area companies hatched and nurtured through the Berkeley MBA Program recently received some high-profile coverage: Indiegogo, an online crowdfunding platform, was showcased in a Financial Times article, and TubeMogul, a media buying platform for video advertising, was featured in an Advertising Age article on the company’s recent $20 million Series C round of funding.

Launched in 2008 by co-founders Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell, both MBA 08, and Slava Rubin, Indiegogo began as a social marketplace for independent filmmakers to raise money. It has since become a global crowdfunding platform, “empowering anyone, anywhere, anytime, to raise funds for any idea.” This move beyond movies was fueled in part by $15 million raised in funding earlier this year from sources including Insight Ventures and Khosla Ventures. That was the largest amount ever raised by a crowdfunding company, the Financial Times noted.

 “There are so many ideas that go unborn every day because the people who have them don’t have the right connections,” Ringelmann told the Financial Times. “It’s not for lack of brilliance or heart or work ethic—they just don’t have a rich uncle or a connection to a bank.” She told Haas last February that Indiegogo has helped to level the playing field, including directing “a much higher percentage of capital to women entrepreneurs.”

Andre Marquis, executive director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, told the Financial Times that many Berkeley MBA students and alumni use Indiegogo to fund their startups. He called Ringelmann “an especially inspiring figure to women entrepreneurs,” and said, “It’s great to have such a vibrant role model in Danae.”

Employing some 20 Haas or Cal alumni, TubeMogul, co-founded by Brett Wilson, John Hughes, and Mark Rotblat, all MBA 07, shifted from a service to help video publishers track viewer data to a video marketing company integrating real-time media buying, ad serving, targeting, optimization, and brand measurement. The service has been used by everyone from ad agencies to film studios and presidential candidates.

The founding trio met in a Haas entrepreneurship class and went on to spend a year working in the school’s startup incubator. "The Lester Center was just an awesome launch pad to help us create TubeMogul," Wilson has said. "Absolutely couldn't have done it without Haas."

Advertising Age highlighted TubeMogul’s recent round of funding, which was led by Northgate Capital and included previous investors Trinity Ventures and Foundation Capital. The Series C funding brought the total raised by TubeMogul to $35 million. Wilson told Advertising Age the company will use the funds to aggressively hire in engineering, sales, and marketing and to expand into more international markets. Wilson also reported that TubeMogul tripled revenue in 2012 to more than $50 million, split evenly between the ad-buying technology and video ad network businesses.