After a slowdown last year, the Asia Pacific ad market began to heat up again in 2013 and ad-tech services provider Komli has raised a $30 million equity financing designed to help it take better advantage.
The Mumbai-based company, which began life as an ad network seven years ago and helped give birth to supply-side platform PubMatic in 2007, has worked to cover every aspect of the digital ad sales marketplace, including display, mobile, video, social, search and data. As the rollout of broadband in India has continued to be spotty and slow in some areas, Komli has seen much of its growth come from other parts of Asia, particularly in categories such as mobile and social.
The additional capital comes from new investor Peepul Capital, based in India, as well as from previous backers Norwest Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
"Real-time is at the core of everything we're doing," said Komli CEO Prashant Mehta. "We've launched a mobile RTB platform and our approach has been that even though RTB is much smaller here than in some other parts of the world, this is more than laying the foundation. We're seeing significant growth through the Southeast Asia region and this funding is about expanding our share of the digital business being done in that market. But India is still important to us, as the display market there has grown about 25% in the past year. But right now, most of our growth is outside India."
Komli has already built out a DSP and data-management platform, in addition to continuing to operate its publisher network, and has struck partnerships with Twitter-owned mobile RTB operator MoPub. The company is also providing its retargeting services across Facebook Exchange in the region.
With this funding, Komli has raised about $90 million – a huge amount in any category. And while Komli is certainly a pioneer in the region, it's not alone in working to build up its presence, as it faces competition from other digital players such as ZEDO and Sociomantic in India and Asia Pacific-focused DSP operator Brandscreen.
The company has used those proceeds to make a number of acquisitions, most recently Admax, which was intended to solidify its existing network business and allow it to concentrate on services focused on retargeting and RTB. Komli has about 340 staffers, "a bit less than last year," Mehta said. "We were able to consolidate a number of sales positions as we decided to concentrate more on hiring more engineers."
With this additional $30 million on hand, Komli will continue to work on its ATOM platform, which was recently added to FBX, making it one of the first adoptees in the region. For the most part, Mehta wants to do much of the current building in-house.
So though there are no new acquisition targets are on the table, Mehta doesn't completely rule out making a small purchase or two in the next few months.
"Admax came to us, we weren't looking for any large deals," he said. "We'd be open to an acqui-hire, because it's so hard to find talent. That's a problem everywhere, of course."
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