5 Questions for Bob Dykes

NebuAd today will announce that it has raised around $20 million in Series B funding, from Menlo Ventures and return backer Sierra Ventures. So peHUB has five questions for Bob Dykes, CEO of NebuAd and former CFO and executive of biz ops for Juniper Networks:

1. NebuAd refers to itself as the “first consumer-centric behavioral targeting network for the online advertising industry.” There are obviously a lot of behavioral online ad companies out there, so what exactly is NebuAd the first to do?

Dykes: Prior behavioral ad networks are all from the website, in that they drop cookies. They may have several thousand site from which they drop cookies, but it’s still very website-oriented and a limited view of the user. Our technology allows us to see all of the websites a user goes to, so that we can more deeply understand a user’s consumer interests.

2. That obviously raises all sorts of privacy and sensitivity concerns….

Dykes: We only look at consumer sites – not ones that are sensitive. So if you go to a sex site, we don’t track that. If you look up something for HIV positive, we don’t look at that. But if you are planning travel to the South of France or are researching a Lexus SUV, we do track that. It’s a deep, micro-targeted understanding of the user.

3. Where does this Series B rouind put NebuAd in terms of future VC funding needs?

Dykes: We got exactly what we were looking for, and do not anticipate another round of funding. This should bring us to cashflow breakeven, and allow us to roll out our appliances to service providers and build up our ad sales force and procurement groups. We also will continue to perfect our behavioral optimization technology.

4. Which is more difficult to hire: Techies or ad sales people?

We want to hire high-quality people, so it’s difficult all around. I would not like to characterize one over the other.

5. It seems that every other company in your line of business has a blog written by the CEO or head of marketing. Why doesn’t NebuAd?

Dykes: We market directly to service providers, websites and advertising agencies, so we’re not really looking to reach general consumers… Maybe someday we’ll move to that.