For Pontiflex, a 10-month-old start-up with $2.5 million in funding, the recession is actually good news.

The company, which has pegged itself as the first open and transparent cost per lead market, generates leads of interested consumers for advertisers–a higher value, it argues, than banner clicks that don't convert.

"We found ourselves to be very counter-cyclical to the broader economy, so basically the worse things get unfortunately on both Wall Street and Main Street, the better Pontiflex does," CEO Zephrin Lasker told me at the AlwaysOn conference earlier this month. "But we do that by helping people go out and get more effective returns on their online advertising. With each month as the economy has gotten worse we've seen more and more inbound interest, because people really need to squeeze every available drop of value out of their online ad dollars, and that's exactly what we do."

Pontiflex has some pretty high-profile clients to brag about: It did the lead gen for the Obama campaign, and we all know how that turned out. "An invitation to one of the balls would have been nice," Lasker said, laughing. In the segment, he describes the strategy Pontiflex employed for Obama and why it worked.

–Kelsey Blodget, Associate Producer