Acquisitions / Advertising

With MediaGlu acquisition, Baltimore’s adtech momentum keeps building

Call it part of adtech's programmatic push. The deal will bring New York firm AppNexus to Baltimore, instead of the other way around.

The MediaGlu team. Marcus Startzel is at right. (Photo courtesy of MediaGlu)

There’s another programmatic-centered move in Baltimore’s adtech community.
MediaGlu, a four-year-old local startup that specializes in technology that allows advertisers to track views on multiple devices, was acquired by New-York based AppNexus, the two sides announced earlier this month.
For AppNexus, the deal will add MediaGlu’s cross-device mapping, which uses probabilistic technology to find people who are viewing ads on multiple screens, whether it’s a smartphone, laptop or tablet. The mapping allows advertisers to collect more data about consumers’ viewing habits, which can in turn be used to hone targeted ad campaigns.

We're thrilled to join AppNexus, which is hands-down the most innovative and nimble ad tech firm in the market.

The deal closes out a year of AppNexus investment in programmatic, or the use of automated online exchanges to buy and sell advertising. Here’s more info on what programmatic ad buying is all about.
The two sides did not disclose the terms of the deal, which comes less than two months after MediaGlu named former Millennial Media and executive Marcus Startzel CEO in October. MediaGlu’s six-person team will remain in Baltimore, and become an AppNexus office. A statement from Startzel indicated the company would be hiring, saying they are excited to “bring AppNexus to Baltimore and tap into the incredible tech talent here as we scale the team.”
“We’re thrilled to join AppNexus, which is hands-down the most innovative and nimble ad tech firm in the market,” Startzel said in the statement.
The startup’s cross-device technology will be integrated into AppNexus’ programmatic platform, which allows for automated ad-buying through online exchanges. AppNexus is one of a number of adtech companies, like Baltimore-based Millennial Media, that has retooled as programmatic platforms become more and more desired by mobile advertisers.
AppNexus is in a heavy growth period. With the MediaGlu deal, they have now made three acquisitions in 2014. The company announced an expansion into mobile in April, 2013, then added technology to measure viewability from French company Alenty. They later added the ad server of Pennsylvania-based Open AdStream. Forbes reported that the company spent a total of $200 million on acquisitions this year.
The Forbes report intimates that the company may be planning an IPO.
“This acquisition caps a year of robust growth at AppNexus, a pattern that we fully expect to see continue in 2015,” Jonathan Hsu, CFO and COO of AppNexus, said in a statement announcing the deal.
Alongside AppNexus’ push, Millennial Media, which already went public, made their own programmatic push by acquiring two Boston-based firms in 2014. The Baltimore company’s most recent acquisition was Nexage, which adds real-time bidding technology to their platform. Still, 2014 was a rough year for Millennial.
The growth of independent companies is seen as a direct move to compete with Google, Facebook and the other tech giants as they ramp up their programmatic efforts. According to eMarketer, nearly $10 billion was projected to be spent on display ads through programmatic methods by the end of 2014, and is expected to balloon to nearly $17 billion by 2017.
Last year, AppNexus and Millennial Media announced a deal indicating that one strategy to compete with the big boys was to band together. The two companies announced they were partnering on a programmatic platform in 2013 dubbed the Millennial Media Exchange (MMX). But the Nexage acquisition was interpreted by observers such as AdExchanger as a move by Millennial Media to shore up its own exchange apart from AppNexus.
Whether they continue to grow together or apart, the latest move appears to ensure that the two companies will cross paths in Baltimore.

Companies: Millennial Media

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