AdBrite raises $23M

Online advertising company AdBrite has raised $23 million in third-round funding, according to a regulatory filing. Investors include Sequoia Capital as well as new participation from DAG Ventures and Mitsui Ventures.

The San Francisco-based company was founded in June 2004 by Philip “Pud” Kaplan, who is perhaps best known for the dot-com obituary website

His initial vision of AdBrite was to let online publishers interact directly with text and html advertisers, rather than with fee-taking middlemen such as Google. It enabled users to place a display box on their sites seeking advertisers. The comapny also helps advertisers target their message to particular audiences.

In early 2006, AdBrite hired former president Iggy Fanlo as CEO. Since then, the company has introduced such features as an “auction” system for ad purchasing, “full-page” ads for larger advertisers and a way to insert advertising or other branding on digital photos.

The company previously raised a $4 million Series A round in July 2004 and an $8 million Series B round in February 2006. Sequoia led AdBrite’s Series A round in 2004 and was joined in 2006 on the Series B round by hedge fund Artis Capital Management (the San Francisco-based firm often joins Sequoia on VC deals).

AdBrite board members include Fanlo, Kaplan, fellow co-founder Michael Wise and Sequoia’s Mark Kvamme. The company, which was planning to announce the funding deal this week, said that marketing guru Peter Sealey, a former Coca-Cola chief marketing officer, has joined the company’s board of directors as part of the latest financing. —Dan Primack