In 2008, Amagi Media Labs was a small tech startup in India with its eye on the nascent streaming market.
On Wednesday, Amagi became a unicorn after raising $95 million in a round led by Accel, bringing the company’s total funding to around $150 million since 2013.
Amagi’s sell-side technology uses a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) infrastructure to facilitate ad serving across viewing channels, including mobile, streaming and broadcast TV.
When Amagi first started out, its intention was to develop ad targeting technology for streaming TV, said CEO Baskar Subramanian. But since streaming was still very much in its infancy in 2008, Amagi initially concentrated on broadcast by helping brands geotarget their messages at the hyper-local level in regions across India. Amagi would then measure the results, he said, “akin to what Comcast does in the US.”
But focusing on broadcast was mainly an effort to bide time until TV streaming ramped up, Subramanian said.
“We were waiting for streaming TV to ‘happen,’” he said, and “around 2014, we saw the writing on the walls,” which is when Amagi pivoted from geotargeting to a wholly cloud-based business with technology for monetizing targeted video inventory across channels.
Although most of Amagi’s growth since 2015 is streaming-related, its technology can also be used by traditional broadcasters looking to break into the digital space because it combines the “complexity” of broadcast technologies with the “new world” of targeted, interactive advertising on distribution platforms, Subramanian said.
In many cases, Amagi also uses contextual signals for targeting across connected devices and smart TVs, including through a recent partnership with video data platform IRIS.TV.
Now that Amagi’s valuation is above $1 billion and the company is profitable, the next logical step, Subramanian said, is to expand into new markets and invest in R&D and new product innovations.
“New markets” is code for global expansion.
Amagi plans to “double down in the US,” Subramanian said, because the US market currently makes up 75% of its revenue.
The company also plans to increase its footprint in Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Latin America, Australia and Korea.
Global expansion will also bring in more – and new – customers.
Larger media companies and “broad-based clients” and brands are starting to adopt free ad-supported TV channels, Subramanian said, which used to mostly consist of smaller content brands investing in the mechanism to “gain distribution.”
Today, Amagi brings in roughly a quarter-million dollars in annualized recurring revenue per customer on average, although “that’s starting to inch up,” Subramanian said.
He projects the company will have 200 international employees by the end of the year (compared with around 40 currently), in addition to 600 in India.