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Centro, a pioneer in local online ad placement for national marketers, has received $22.5 million in equity financing from FTV Capital. The money will go toward expanding its regional sales presence and also toward software development.

CEO Shawn Riegsecker tells us that he anticipates adding six to eight regional offices to its existing roster of 18 offices, and doubling its sales staff from 40 to 80 personnel. “We’re helping bring the regional medium tier to the Internet,” he says, noting that the Chicago-based company works with 350 agencies and 1,100 advertisers.

Indeed, Centro’s largest growth has been among regional advertisers, including banks, hospitals, telecom, and oil and energy companies, he says. While the company has made a big push toward getting its agency software for non-local online media adopted, Riegsecker notes that 90 percent of the company’s revenues still come through Centro Media Services.

“We’re seeing three things happen in the next five years,” he says. “First, we’re seeing the movement of brand advertising to the Internet.” Secondly, Centro sees premium display ads doubling in the next five years. The third thing is that local advertising, including regional and local-local, will boom as combination of display, brand and local placement.

Mobile and video will come along with that, adds Riegsecker. “The problem with video is that there isn’t enough inventory,” he says. Search also plays a factor, and is very useful, but it is a “very mature market in respect to display,” he says.

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  1. We ran a campaign with Centro in Houston for a regional bank. They are one of the few firms that can correctly position premium display. Based on what we’re seeing in the market, this funding is both deserved and timely. Congrats to Shawn and his team.

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