Venture trio provides $25m funding round for Unruly

Amadeus has joined forces with the UK's Business Growth Fund and Dutch VC Van den Ende & Deitmers to back Unruly, a UK-based social video company

The three venture partners are providing a first round of institutional funding for Unruly, a five-year-old business headquartered in the UK's Tech City that helps brands deliver and track social video campaigns. The total raised is a record for this particular sector, the venture firms said.

Amadeus Capital Partners, the Business Growth Fund and Van den Ende & Deitmers believe Unruly is ideally placed to take advantage as more and more advertising spend migrates online. Its videos – which include high-profile campaigns like Evian's 'Roller Babies' – have, to date, received over 1.34 billion views, and are currently reaching some 725 million unique users per month.

 “With global online ad spend set to reach $110 billion by 2014, and with online video ad spend predicted to be the fastest growing category, we believe Unruly is strongly positioned to be the winner in the global social video market,” said Martijn Hamann, a partner at Van den Ende & Deitmers.

Unruly has enjoyed rapid growth in the last few years. Revenue trebled to $25 million last year, and is forecast to double in 2012. Unlike many of its Web 2.0 contemporaries, the business is also profitable. 

Chief executive and co-founder Scott Button told Private Equity International that the company could have managed without a funding round, but decided to take the opportunity after being approached by a number of VC firms last year. 

It intends to use the money to accelerate its international expansion. Unruly already has nine offices around the world; having launched in London in 2006, it opened its first European base in Paris in 2010 and its first US outpost in 2011. Button now plans to develop its presence in the US – he expects to beef up the company's West and East Coast presence, while a new Chicago office is imminent – and also open a new Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore. This would help Unruly to provide a better service to global brands and marcomms agencies, he suggested. The business is also likely to go on a hiring spree: it plans to double headcount over the next 12 months.

Unruly selected its backers after a formal beauty parade run by boutique advisory firm Torch Partners. Button said the three firms chosen offered the best combination of “personal chemistry”, a shared sense of purpose (“like us, they want to go and build a world-class British technology business that will go out and win globally”), and relevant experience. Amadeus has previously made a number of other investments in the advertising technology space, including mobile marketing business Celltick and digital signage company ComQi, while Dutch firm Van den Ende & Deitmers, the venture vehicle of Endemol founder Joop van den Ende, has substantial experience with content, media and marketing businesses.