Jeff Dittus, the CEO and co-founder, will step down and be chairman of the board, though he will continue to be involved in the daily business.
Helmreich is tasked with building out the company.
“There’s a huge opportunity to continue scaling,” he said. According to Helmreich and Dittus, the company makes “in the eight figures” and is profitable. Audience Partners has "taken very little funding,” Helmreich continued. “The only outside investor is QED Investors and we’re at the point to take the business from 30-40 people to 100-150 people and scale both the revenue, the headcount and the offices.”
Audience Partners is an advertising platform, focusing on advocacy, political and healthcare verticals. Its technology is designed to target media and advertising across television, tablets, smartphones and desktop computers. While all three verticals have fundamentally thrived on first-party data, which Audience Partners uses as a jumping-off point to generate better targeting capabilities, they’re all undergoing some massive shifts.
“In politics, the advent of digital voter file targeting and social media has led to what we call the ‘commercialization of politics,’” Dittus said. “Meaning, outside spending groups are raising money in competition with the long-standing political committees.”
Moreover, President Barack Obama’s successful 2012 re-election campaign placed a premium on data-driven targeting and advocacy – a trend that Audience Partners’ staff and stakeholders hope will spike with the 2016 election.
Helmreich will also seek to build on Audience Parterns’ growing presence in healthcare, a vertical the company dipped into a few years ago.
“The roll out of the Affordable Care Act is a monumental industry change, comparable to the breakup of Ma Bell,” Dittus said. “Healthcare companies need to change overnight as their customers now have individual choice on where to buy insurance and care. Individual level targeting for acquisition and retention is now a must for all healthcare companies.”
Dittus added that education, and the ability to match prospective students to the right graduate and undergraduate school, also “gets us excited.”
Helmreich intends to steer clear of verticals that have lately become popular among ad tech companies – such as consumer packaged goods and automotive – eschewing these industries for ones that are less crowded by competitors.
As Helmreich pushes to expand Audience Partner’s offerings, he doesn’t anticipate the often polarizing and binary nature of modern day politics to be a hindrance – for instance, Audience Partners could theoretically work with activist groups representing different sides of the fracking debate.
“Audience Partners has built relationships where we can work with multiple constituencies and be trusted,” he said. “The moment that breaks down, the business breaks down.”
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