Ad Fontes Media has raised $800,000 in its pre-seed funding round, the company told Campaign US.
The company, which measures media bias, secured investments from Horizon Fund/Glen Nelson Center at American Public Media Group, an LGBTQ+ business-focused angel-investor group Gaingels, FAB Reels and audio ad agency Oxford Road.
The pre-seed round shows the industry’s appetite to support the company’s tools for measuring media bias.
According to Ad Fontes Media founder and CEO Vanessa Otero, the money will be used to develop and improve its tools, including its data-set of media publications.
“There are literally tens of thousands of new sources out there, so [we] run across things [we] haven't heard of before,” she said. “Having a third party who's got ratings on them is really helpful, so expanding our data set is our primary focus.”
Ad Fontes Media, which produces a Media Bias Chart, provides social media platforms, media buyers, advertisers and PR professionals with details on publication biases. Its technology, called the Ad Apex solution, rates news for reliability and provides reports to stakeholders, including advertisers who want to appear alongside brand-safe content.
“[Block listing] pulls funding from really important reporting and stories under the guise of trying to be ‘brand safe,’” Otero said. “So our data takes a really deep look at the content and can identify what's reliable.”
Otero attributes the success of the latest funding round at least in part to the fact that she is a diverse, openly LGBTQ+ founder and her company is structured as a public benefit corporation.
A key investor, The Glen Nelson Center, is dedicated to supporting equity in media and sets aside 51% of its available investments, awards and resources for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ and female-founded ventures. Gaingels, meanwhile, is a global network of LGBTQ and ally investors that focuses its time and capital on supporting the LGBTQ community.
“I really appreciate that there are funds that focus on founders like me and issues that I care about,” Otero said.