Fiksu Is Carving Itself Up Into Four Separate Companies So People Can Figure Out What The Heck They Do

FiksusfutureIt’s been a bumpy road for Fiksu – from app marketplace rock star to ad tech cautionary tale – but now comes the next chapter.

On Monday, the mobile app marketing platform, which was acquired by private equity firm Noosphere in early June likely as part of a fire sale, announced that it’s splitting itself into four separate companies: Fiksu DSP, Fiksu Media Group, Fiksu Networks and incentivized app discovery firm FreeMyApps.

Each will be an independent entity with its own leadership and dedicated sales team. Although the four companies will operate independently, the sales teams will collaborate and pass off leads to each other where it makes sense.

Noosphere will be mostly hands off on day-to-day stuff, but will have “strong participants at the board level” of each company, said Fiksu CEO and founder Micah Adler, who will take the reins at CEO of Fiksu DSP.

“There are a lot of different pieces to the business and that created a fair bit of confusion in the marketplace about our offerings,” Adler said. “This will also allow each company to go after the specific segment of clients that makes sense for them.”

It’s also arguable that Fiksu and Noosphere are doing this to make Fiksu’s various assets more attractive to potential acquirers. The carved-out companies could be more salable as separate entities with distinct offerings than as a single unit.

Fiksu DSP will focus on self-serve programmatic buying, while Fiksu Networks will provide a managed service. FreeMyApps, which had already been spun off into a separate business, will continue offering access to incentivized traffic. Lastly, Fiksu Media Group will concentrate on selling to agencies.

These are all things that Fiksu offered before under one roof. But that was starting to feel like a bit of a grab bag, and even some of Fiksu’s own clients didn’t know exactly what was in there.

“Fiksu 1.0’s” business units had been naturally drifting apart for some time, said Adler.

“Some people thought Fiksu was all about incentivized marketing, for example, and other people didn’t even know it was part of our business,” he said. “The industry likes to put things into very clearly defined buckets – just look at the LUMAscape. But we either got put in a bucket that either wasn’t accurate or didn’t reflect 75% of what the business did.”

Divvying up the business should give buyers a better idea of which buckets each solution or product belongs in.

“Most companies in the space have very clear, single-minded products,” said Adler.

But it’s also true that a lot of companies in the space are combating the commoditization of their offerings, SSPs and DSPs in particular.

MicahAdlerFiksuAdler says Fiksu DSP differentiates with data and insights. Fiksu claims to have profiles on 3.6 billion mobile devices, including around 90% of all Android and iOS devices ever shipped in the US.

“It’s great to have all of those profiles, but if you don’t know what to do with them, it’s not worth anything,” Adler said.

The same could be said about any market opportunity – strike while the iron is hot. That’s something Adler acknowledged that Fiksu could have done a little better in the past, especially when it came to self-serve.

“Fiksu saw a lot of growth in the early years around our managed service, but when there was a transition in the ecosystem toward more self-serve products, we were admittedly a bit slow,” he said. “But that’s certainly something we’ve addressed by this point, and we have further enhancements to our self-service offering in the works.”

The four new Fiksu companies are actively hiring, but for the moment, they’ll mostly be staffed up and led by internal people. The company formerly known as Fiksu had a little more than 100 employees, which will now be distributed among Fiksu DSP, FreeMyApps, Fiksu Media Group and Fiksu Networks.

Beyond Adler at the helm of Fiksu DSP, longtime Fiksu CRO Spencer Scott will become CEO of FreeMyApps, while Fiksu’s VP of sales will head up Fiksu Media Group. The Fiksu Networks chief is still TBD, although Adler said it’ll likely be a hire from within.

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