Blinkx Grabs Ad-Targeting Platform Lyfe Mobile

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blinkxVideo search engine Blinkx has acquired Lyfe Mobile, a 3-year-old startup that delivers targeted ads based on geographic data and other location-based analytics, in an all-cash transaction, the companies said Tuesday.

Based in Santa Monica, Calif., Lyfe Mobile offers audience-targeting features using GPS data combined with other data points such as weather, traffic and population density, as well as campaign-management tools to help brands deliver targeted ads. The company offers various mobile ad formats, including display, video and native ads.

As part of the transaction, Blinkx is hiring all 11 members of Lyfe Mobile, including engineers, data scientists and business staff. Acquiring Lyfe Mobile represents Blinkx’s “first foray” into the demand side of programmatic advertising, said Blinkx CEO Subhransu Brian Mukherjee.

He described Lyfe Mobile’s platform as one that connects with supply-side partners, comparing it with mobile DSP StrikeAd and the mobile capabilities of Turn.

“Historically Blinkx has been focused on the supply side of the ecosystem,” Mukherjee said. “This acquisition represents our first step in bridging the gap between the supply side and the demand side, particularly in mobile.”

Mukherjee acknowledged that Blinkx is taking Lyfe Mobile on at a loss because the startup was not profitable at the time of the acquisition, but said it has a “ready-made team that understands mobile and will complement the ad network that we bought in Rhythm (New Media).”

Blinkx is a 10-year-old public company with headquarters in San Francisco and London. In addition to operating a video search engine and discovery platform, it also owns ad network Burst Media (acquired in 2011) and mobile-focused video ad platform Rhythm New Media (bought in 2013).

Blinkx’s stock took a hit on Jan. 30, falling 31%, when an associate professor at Harvard, Ben Edelman, published a blog post accusing Blinkx of deceptive adware install practices.

The company fired back by pointing to Edelman's financial ties to clients who have shorted the company's stock. Edelman responded in April with another blog post criticizing Blinkx’s additional business activities.

“From our standpoint, we’ve given a thorough and well-investigated response to (Edelman’s accusations),” Mukherjee said. “And we feel that … we devoted sufficient time and effort to responding and we’ve moved on.”

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