Turn CEO Demas Discusses New Funds And Company Positioning

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TurnWednesday, demand-side platform Turn announced the closing of a $20 million Series D round of funding led by Greenspring Associates and existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, Trident Capital, Shasta Ventures and Focus Ventures. Read the release.

Turn CEO Bill Demas discussed plans for the new funds and industry trends.

AdExchanger.com: Do you identify Turn as a demand-side platform today?

BD: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  What we do is empower marketers – both at premier ad agencies and brands - to reach custom audiences at scale with consistently superior ROI.  We have done that by building a enterprise-class technology infrastructure for real-time bidding, developing an algorithmically optimized platform and enabling marketers to manage campaigns with an intuitive self-service interface. Ultimately what matters is what something is, not what it is called.

How is international expansion going? Compared to the U.S., what are some of the differences you see internationally?

We are early in building our European presence and will accelerate those efforts, hence part of the reason for the fund-raising.  We do have a London office and clients in a number of countries.  You’ll hear more about what we have in-market shortly.

What is the next digital channel to take offer after display in terms of data-drive audience buying?

Display is an enormous and frankly the largest digital marketing opportunity out there.  The industry is undergoing “creative destruction” and at times it feels like much of the $10B display market in the US is up for grabs.  It’s not the sexy answer but we can build a successful company just focusing on display.  That said and to answer your question, we see opportunity in a number of areas including video, mobile and IPTV.

The doubling of revenue is noted in your release.  What about profitability? How do you see this playing out?

Our focus as a business is to innovate and solve hard marketing problems on behalf of our existing and future clients.  This had led to dramatically increased revenues for us which in turn [so to speak – ha!] has led to some periods of profitability.  However that is not our current goal.  We are focused on the long-term.  We will continue to invest in what we believe will be a $50B global market in the next few years.    The areas of focus for us are investing in our people as well as the three I’ve mentioned in the press release that most benefit our clients: infrastructure, innovation, and international.

Why was Greenspring Associates the right fit to lead this round?

We wanted to work with a late stage firm that would enable us to run a quick efficient process, add value and work well with our existing investors – Norwest Venture Partners, Trident Capital, Shasta Ventures and Focus Ventures - all of whom took their full pro rata shares in the round. Greenspring has built a very successful direct co-investment track record of identifying, investing, and proactively supporting leading growth stage enterprises. Greenspring wound up being the best choice for Turn and so far so good.

What has been the biggest challenge of the past year?

The response to our platform offering has been huge, higher than I expected.  The challenge has been to scale the entire company to take advantage of the at-times overwhelming interest that comes our way and to do so as fast as possible offering excellent service to our clients and continuing to enhance our culture here at Turn.  It’s been two things: a balancing act and a lot of fun.

By John Ebbert

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