Don’t buy a risky start-up, when you can invest in it and share some of that risk with other venture capital firms. If it succeeds–and you happen to be Google–you can sweep-in and acquire the company. If it fails, you don’t have to put up with the press giving you a hard time about yet another failure.
And, that’s exactly the approach Google has taken with Invidi–a start-up that’s hoping to find a better TV ad model:
The search giant is leading a $23 million series D round in Invidi Technologies, a New York City company that works on “addressable” TV ads. Addressable ads are supposed to target specific viewers, using data from set-top boxes, in the same way that Internet ads sniff out specific Web surfers.
In other words, Invidi figures out what you watch and serves ads targeted to your interests.
Sounds like the kind of thing Google would naturally be interested in, right? So, why didn’t Google just buy the company outright? Well, it’s highly likely that the founders of Invidi believe they’re on to something and don’t want to be stripped for parts by the internet giant. By taking investment from Google, Invidi gets all the warmth of the sun, but has the option to continue building their company the way they want–as much as you can when you have VC investment–and then sell to the right company, at the right time.
Sounds like a win-win for all involved.