Demand side platform MediaMath has scooped up Tap.Me and its roughly 11 employees for an undisclosed sum. The deal brings MediaMath a far more robust mobile and video ad serving capability than it had previously, according to CEO Joe Zawadzki.
Tap.Me was previously focused on in-game ads (AdExchanger 2011 Q&A). But as sometimes happens in ad tech, the company's young development team seems to have created value outside its core business model.
"Our CTO got a look at the code. These guys were all pretty fresh to ad tech and had built something from first principles that was pretty powerful," Zawadzki tells AdExchanger.
Tap.Me will be a Chicago hub for MediaMath. Its CEO, Matt Spiegel, has been named general manager of MediaMath's Open partner unit. Spiegel was previously CEO of Omnicom Media Group Digital and Annalect Marketplaces.
Prior to the deal, Tap.Me had raised approximately $4M from Hyde Park Venture Partners and others.
We spoke with Zawadzki this morning.
Last we heard Tap.Me it was all about in-game ads, but your announcement barely mentions that. What gives?
JOE ZAWADZKI: They thought their commercial go-to-market was around the mobile gaming opportunity. In pursuit of that they built an underlying mobile and video ad server in the sense that they were delivering into the mobile gaming environments they were plugged into.
I have very awkwardly likened it to the advent of penicillin, where they accidentally made something more valuable than the original business intent. Our CTO got a look at the code. These guys were all pretty fresh to ad tech and had built something from first principles that was pretty powerful. The team was extraordinarily strong on the tech side. We knew they would be a pretty ferocious team connected to MediaMath and the platform.
We started spending more time over there. Matt Spiegel was a known quantity from a leadership standpoint.
Matt has significant agency skills at OMG and Accuen. How does his hire fit into your agency strategy?
It's certainly supportive. His role is going to be to focus on Open, which is basically a certification and partnership program with our supply chain: exchanges, SSPs, media companies, data companies, value added partners, verification and whatnot. Basically everyone on the LUMAscape that is best in class.
The flip side of Open is on the buyer side, on certification for agencies, advertisers and traders. He has great insight on how to create programs for those guys to improve adoption at the agency level.
Where were you with mobile and video pre-acquisition? How does this fit into evolution of the platform?
We've been supporting mobile and video for a while, and we've got a bunch of video integrations with the Adap.tv's and Brightrolls. We saw the ability to bring in the underlying ad tech -- targeting and serving – and to bring new things in terms of mobile. Even though supply is widely available, a lot of marketers don't know yet how to make it effective. A lot of what these guys are doing is adding technology to the available supply to make it work. With 25% of impression and 1% of spend, there's clearly a gap there.
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