Uru Raises $800,000 Funding

NEW YORK — Uru, a company that creates computer vision-powered advertisements for digital video and virtual reality, has secured $800,000 in pre-seed funding. Led by Notation Capital, with participation from Betaworks, PJC, Rough Draft Ventures, Presence Capital, and several angel investors, the money will help Uru build a new generation of digital ads.

Based in New York City, Uru offers a first-to-market, ready-for-production software that leverages computer vision and machine learning technology to automatically understand the objects, themes, and brand placement opportunities inside content, and then to populate those opportunities with appropriate brands in an immersed and viewer-friendly way. In a study conducted by a researcher at the Center for Behavioral Research at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Uru’s ads were shown to improve brand recall by 80% over existing video ad formats.

Launched in Cornell Tech’s Startup Studio, taught by investor David Tisch, Uru is the first company from that program and the first Cornell Tech Startup Award winner to raise institutional backing. Prior to Uru, co-founder and CTO Brunno Attorre worked on distributed systems and machine learning at JP Morgan, Buscapé, and Compare Games and co-founder and CEO Bill Marino was a Data Science Fellow at Mashable. The founders met as Computer Science Master of Engineering students at Cornell Tech and are joined by advisor Serge Belongie, Cornell Tech professor and co-founder of Anchovi Labs (acquired by Dropbox).

“Advances in computer vision and deep learning technology allow us, at last, to create advertising experiences that are generated in response to content,” said Brunno Attorre, co-founder and CTO of Uru, “This results in more valuable, consumer-friendly brand experiences and thus Uru is excited to bring these new, sophisticated capabilities to the growing $10 billion digital video ad market.”

Additional investors participating in this round include Chris Cunningham of C2 Ventures, Giphy co-founder Alex Chung, Thatcher Bell, Christian Noske, and Undertone co-founder Eric Franchi. Funding will be used to expand the technical team and to support partnerships with beta customers.