So far in October, several advertising firms, including Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest, WPP Group's Landor, Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day announced layoffs. The advertising industry typically gets hit hard during economic downturns. Yet despite downsizing at large ad agencies, one emerging startup advertising technology company is seeking to bring more people in through acquisitions.
"We think there’s an opportunity to go and create the 800 pound gorilla advertising technology company," said Frank Addante, founder and CEO of Rubicon Project, an advertising network optimization company. Essentially, Rubicon allows publishers to manage their relationships with multiple advertising networks, such as Revenue Science, Advertising.com, and 24/7. Publishers like to work with Rubicon because they can increase their advertising revenue by optimizing across multiple ad networks. Ad networks like to work with Rubicon because they can place their ads in front of a total of 220 million unique visitors, which is currently Rubicon's reach.
"That’s why we raised $22 million," he added. "We want to be that market leader."
One way to be the market leader is by improving the data Rubicon provides its advertising clients. To that end, Rubicon is considering "potentially rolling up companies," said Frank, in this Vator Talks segment, in which Ezra Roizen and I interview the guest. Among the companies he's interested in buying are behavioral targeting and semantic technology companies.
Frank, who's taken a company (L90) public and sold two companies, isn't one to shy from big exits and big goals. By May 2009, which is Rubicon's second anniversary, Frank expectcs Rubicon to have 10,000 customers (up from 1200 today), to quadruple its publisher customers' revenue (publishers today see a 30% to 300% lift in revenue), and to serve 10 billion impressions a day vs. 10 billion a month today.
Frank also talks about how Rubicon is different from competitor Pubmatic, the impact the economic downturn is having on his advertising partners and publisher clients, and when Rubicon plans to get into video advertising.