Video Provider PixelFish Buys Backyard

How’d you like to work for several months, have your startup get bought and then pocket several million bucks? That’s what’s happening to the founders of Backyard (Steve Espinosa and Andrew Shotland). Backyard was funded by Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures, among others.

Backyard is being bought by local video provider PixelFish. The irony is that Backyard (which also owns Citysquares) had almost no shot at success as a local destination, though Espinosa and crew had some Facebook skills and price information that others lacked.

PixelFish is buying the site as kind of analytics and data tool to help better target pre-roll ads on YouTube. Yes, you heard that right. Sound crazy?

TechCrunch has a quote from Espinosa that explains it better than I can, though I spoke to him yesterday:

Since we know what type of personalities are compatible with which businesses, we know which videos those potential customers are most likely on YouTube. Since most YouTube views are either TV shows, music videos, or movie trailers. we can pull out those interests which happen to be the most common things put into a Facebook profile and now all of sudden advertising on music videos on YouTube makes sense . .

The majority of our technology was built to recommend places based on pricing (which we collect from venues via a call center) and your demographic data (which we got from Facebook Connect). We then would crawl fan pages of businesses that had pages, analyze the demographics of the fans of that page, then try to match you up with the best price and the one that closets matched your personality

So through this demographic and taste profiling PixelFish can drive better CTRs and response rates to local pre-roll ads on YouTube videos — that have nothing to do with the content of the videos themselves.

Espinosa now becomes CTO of PixelFish. Longer term it’s not clear what will happen to Citysquares and Backyard. However Backyard will continue to exist to capture consumer data, along the lines of the quote above, rather than to operate as a lead-referral source for SMBs.

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One Response to “Video Provider PixelFish Buys Backyard”

  1. Malcolm Lewis says at

    Nice exit. Congrats to Steve and Andrew.

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