Glispa Aims To Tackle LatAm With The Acquisition Of Brazilian Mobile Shop Mobils

glispaMobilsExploding smartphone growth makes Brazil more than just a mobile market to watch – which is why German mobile performance marketing firm glispa is putting down local roots.

On Tuesday, glispa announced the acquisition of Mobils, a 10-person mobile-focused digital agency based in Sao Paulo.

Glispa declined to share how much it spent on the deal, but it has all the markings of a classic acqui-hire.

All 10 employees will stay on board, including CEO Paulo Maia, growing glispa’s overall headcount to around 210. The two companies had already been working together for about six months before the acquisition.

In addition to talent, Mobils will bring along its existing publisher partners and local Brazilian clients, including Latin American car sales portal Webmotors, ecommerce sporting goods company Netshoes and iFood, Brazil’s answer to GrubHub.

As a glispa shop, Mobils will exclusively use its parent company’s technology, including a suite of performance, user acquisition, native advertising and app store ranking tools, as well as a mediation platform that glispa released in March developed using technology from its acquisition of Russian company MoneyTap.

Mobils’ clients have welcomed the new arrangement because it opens up new markets of users both in and out of Latin America, said Maia. Glispa’s network touches around 1 billion monthly active smartphone users.

“We have good commercial relationships, but we didn’t have the reach or the leverage to negotiate,” said Maia, who noted that Mobils has contacts across LatAm, particularly in promising mobile markets like Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. “There are lots of apps being developed in Brazil that have an opportunity all over Latin America.”

Despite an economic slowdown and political turmoil, smartphone growth has nearly doubled to just over 76 million in the last two years, according to Nielsen and Brazilian polling firm Ibope, and February research from App Annie forecasts that app revenue in Brazil is on tap to grow more than 40% in 2016, despite macroeconomic pressures.

The homegrown Brazilian app market is also starting to pick up steam and publishers are looking to acquire users and monetize across Latin America, said glispa CEO and founder Gary Lin.

As Brazilians increasingly use apps from local developers, glispa needed to have staff on the ground – despite having a team of native Brazilians in Berlin managing the home market remotely.

Beyond Berlin and now Sao Paulo, glispa has offices in Bangalore, Beijing, San Francisco and Tel Aviv. Glispa is owned by publicly traded UK ecommerce company Market Tech Holdings following a $77 million majority stake investment in March 2015.

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