Fyber Shells Out Around $11 Million To Acquire Programmatic Tech

FyberFalkBerlin-based mobile ad platform Fyber (formerly SponsorPay) wants to become what it calls a full-stack “specialized supply-side platform.”

“Specialized” refers to its focus on the world of freemium apps, said Janis Zech, CRO and co-founder of Fyber, which announced its acquisition of German ad tech company Falk Realtime on Wednesday for €10.75 million, which translates to roughly US$11 million. The deal was a mixture of cash and stock.

Fyber, which provides its app publisher clients with the ability to monetize and manage all of their ad network demand through a centralized SDK, was attracted to Falk Realtime’s SSP and ad-serving technology. It’s a strategic investment in programmatic, Zech said.

“For us, this is a technology acquisition,” he said. “They’ve built an infrastructure that supports all IAB formats, with a big focus on video, and our biggest traffic driver is from video on mobile. But the platform is also format agnostic.”

Falk’s ad server will be integrated directly into Fyber’s RTB exchange, which the company announced in March, a process Zech said Fyber is looking to complete within the next three to four months. With Fyber’s server in place, publishers will be able to make programmatic direct deals and set up private marketplaces.

“Programmatic direct and private marketplaces are still nascent, but they’ll be a key ingredient. We’re looking at the world from a publisher’s perspective,” Zech said. “We want to empower them with the tools to tap into overall app demand. All of the 320 million users we see on a monthly basis are through our direct relationship with publishers.”

Fyber, whose clients include GREE, DeNA, Viggle and Kik, is strongest in the freemium segment, where its focus has been on gaming, social networking and communications. Apps in that space, which generally monetize via two main sources – in-app purchases and advertising – are often challenged with ensuring that their “advertising does not cannibalize in-app purchase revenues,” Zech said.

“It’s crucial to offer a set of publisher tools, for example audience segmentation, to make crucial decisions on which segments to serve ads to, or stack management solutions to make decisions for your ad stack without updating your native app,” Zech said.

Freemium app publishers also have to tap into ad exchanges and mediate multiple different ad networks across video and display to make sure they’re getting the highest fill rates and the best eCPMs.

That’s the niche Fyber is looking to fill. “Our goal is just to make app monetization smart and simple for publishers,” Zech said.

Falk’s roughly 20 employees, including the company’s co-founders, will join the ranks of Fyber’s existing 260 employees, although the Falk crowd will remain at their home base in Dusseldorf. Fyber maintains two offices, one in San Francisco and a second in Berlin, where the engineering team is based.

Fyber, which is one of Facebook’s ad network partners, was itself acquired by German media company RNTS Media in October for $190 million. RNTS is a publicly traded company on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. As an independent subsidiary of RNTS, Fyber retained its existing management team and both Zech and co-founder Andreas Bodczek joined the RNTS advisory board.

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