Anzu’s Itamar Benedy in Conversation with PetaCrunch

20 August, 2019 | By Anzu

An edited version of this article was first published on PetaCrunch

Recently, Anzu announced that it has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding led by BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, with participation from WPP, the world’s largest communications services group, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, Europe’s largest digital publishing house. To talk more about the funding and Anzu’s next phase of growth, our CEO and Co-Founder Itamar Benedy sat down with PetaCrunch. Excerpts from his interview:

PetaCrunch: How would you describe Anzu in a single tweet?

    Itamar Benedy: Anzu brings real-world brand advertising to esports and video gaming.

PC: How did it all start and why?

    IB: The founding team with Ben Fenster, Michael Badichi and me have been veterans in advertising and gaming space who understand the pain points of both brands and game developers. During our interactions with brands, we realized that they were looking for new media to reach young audiences, while game developers wanted to try the new business models offered by free-to-play. The numbers supported our vision: eMarketer reports that at least 86% of internet users play games, while Newzoo data predicts the game industry to generate $148 billion in revenue in 2019.

    We imagined a future of possibilities with video gaming to be an attractive space for digital advertising. Yet at that time brands were not able to fully tap into it because of intrusive ads and lack of scalable tech solutions. On the other side, for game developers, the lack of options to bring ad monetization to their games without interfering with the user experience is also problematic. That was the moment when we realized – it’s time to change it! We started in 2016 and came up with a cutting-edge solution that brings the power of programmatic technology and ad viewability to in-game advertising. We went a step further to work on our technology such that it is also available for all major engines, platforms and custom solutions.

PC: What have you achieved so far?

    IB: In just a year of our operations, we have built a new ecosystem in video gaming and esports that benefits both brands and game producers. Our lean team has been able to set up successful partnerships with well-known game studios and Fortune 500 brands globally. We’re the first to bring programmatic technology and ad viewability to in-game advertising, making it a brand-safe and fraud-free way to reach new audiences. Moreover, we’ve recently launched the first-ever ad verification solution in console gaming in partnership with Cheq.

    As a huge push and recognition of our vision to be at the forefront of innovation in this space, I am very excited to have the trust and backing of our recent investors Bitkraft Esports Ventures, the biggest esports VC, along with participation from WPP, the world’s largest communications services group, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, Europe’s largest digital publishing house.

    Apart from that, our business success has translated into many prestigious awards, including SPROCKIT Best Monetization Company 2019, TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2018 top gaming pick, and VivaTech Orange Lab winners, among other accolades.

PC: How will you use your recent funding round?

    IB: Anzu is making advertising accessible to world’s biggest games with our non-intrusive ads, innovative tech, and monetization offerings. We want to strengthen our presence in European and North American markets and are excited to scale our business development efforts in the regions. We also want to be the preferred partner for game studios, working on PC and Consoles.

PC: What do you plan to achieve in the next 2-3 years?

    IB: We strive to revolutionize in-game advertising through our relentless product innovation and by building cutting-edge ad technologies the market needs. Our vision is to be the leading global in-game advertising platform in the years to come and bring in a new way game developers and brands approach free-to-play ad monetization opportunities, by lowering the prepayment game costs and enabling more people to play games! is an in-game advertising platform that brings real-world brand ads to video gaming and esports. Backed by BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, WPP, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, Anzu redefines digital advertising through seamless integration of non-intrusive ads into the gameplay. Bringing real-time data and programmatic to the video gaming world, the platform promises native advertising, brand safety and ad viewability. Follow Anzu on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.