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Edward Norton-Backed TV-Analytics Startup EDO Raises $12 Million

EDO, co-founded by actor and entrepreneur Edward Norton, has banked $12 million in Series A funding to fuel its buildout of its data-analytics service that measures how effectively TV ads drive consumer purchasing behavior.

The funding was led by Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital, with participation by Vista Equity co-founders Robert Smith and Brian Sheth (whose company owns Integral Ad Sciences and Mediaocean) and WGI Group, founded by ad-biz veterans Michael Walrath, Noah Goodhart and Jonah Goodhart, co-founder and CEO of digital ad analytics company Moat.

EDO’s current roster of clients includes ESPN, Turner, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., Lionsgate and Paramount. The company, which has offices in Los Angeles and New York City, focuses on quantifying the effectiveness of TV ads in driving the types of consumer engagement most closely tied to purchase activity. EDO has a database of over 47 million TV ad airings over the past 3.5 years, which it uses to provide marketing clients with virtually real-time info about TV campaign performance and competitive intelligence.

EDO was founded in 2015 after Norton met Harvard data scientist Daniel Nadler and invested in Nadler’s first company, Kensho Technologies, which built machine-learning systems for the U.S. intelligence community and large financial institutions. S&P Global acquired Kensho Technologies earlier this year $550 million.

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Meanwhile, Norton had co-founded and sold his own company, CrowdRise, in early 2017 to GoFundMe. Norton persuaded Nadler that there was an opportunity to apply advanced data science and machine learning in the media and advertising space, which led to the formation of EDO.

According to Norton, the genesis of EDO came from the observation that legacy media companies were getting disrupted by Netflix and Amazon — using their data-mining capabilities to significant advantage –while traditional measurement players haven’t provided solutions for TV networks to compete with the likes of Facebook and Google.

“EDO’s special capabilities as a company flow from our ability to leverage veteran media and advertising expertise alongside technology and data science talent that, quite frankly, traditional media and advertising measurement companies could never hire,” Norton said in a prepared statement.

The company said it will use the new capital to expand its national TV sales and analytical coverage by hiring technical and product-development talent. EDO plans to focus on building new data sets to reveal actual consumer intent across live and non-live TV ads.

EDO licenses TV metadata from Kantar Media and Nielsen/Gracenote, and it also collects and estimates TV viewing data using proprietary models. The company sources anonymous consumer behavioral data from search engines, as well as content sites used for research or shopping and social media.

The startup’s employees include engineers and data scientists from Nadler’s Harvard network and media veterans from Nielsen and NBCU, including EDO’s CEO Kevin Krim, the former head of CNBC Digital, who had earlier led Comcast’s investment in Kensho.

Breyer had previously invested in Kensho, and Nadler said Breyer was the first investor he and Norton wanted to approach when they started EDO. He cited Breyer Capital’s past investments in companies including DataLogix, Legendary and Brightcove.

Breyer commented, “For more than a decade I’ve watched the data science talent arbitrage transform industries from finance to defense, from transportation to commerce. We needed someone to bring these capabilities to bear on the systemic inefficiencies and methodological shortcomings of measurement and analytics in media and advertising. EDO’s data is quickly becoming an essential part of the decision-making and pricing matrix.”

The company’s name is an abbreviation of its official incorporated name, Entertainment Data Oracle Inc.

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