Industry Archives: Advertising

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Samba Bags $377K, Post B2B Pivot, To Grow Its Mobile Video Ad Network

TechCrunch
Samba Networks (formerly Samba Mobile) has closed a £250,000 ($377,000) angel round of investment from Digicel, Mark Charkin (formerly of King.com and Bebo), and other existing angels, followed its pivot last year.

The U.K. startup was founded back in 2010, as Samba Mobile, when it raised a chunk of cash for its initial business model, which consisted of offering consumers the carrot of free 3G in exchange for their eyeballs on video ads.

But by April last year it had sloughed off that business model and morphed into a b2b play, inserting its ad video player tech into others’ apps — providing a way for their users to earn credits for use within messaging platforms or earn mobile top ups and the like by watching ads.

The new angel round brings Samba’s total funding raised post-pivot to £400,000 ($603,000). CEO Ben Atherton tells TechCrunch its run rate revenue is now exceeding total pivot funding.
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RPT-Australian billboard firm oOh! Media plans $141 mln IPO

SYDNEY, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Australian billboard company oOh! Media said it plans to raise A$166 million ($141 million) in an initial public offering, the latest in a series of listings by private equity-owned firms.

oOh! Media said in prospectus filed on Friday that its owner CHAMP Private Equity will sell down its stake to 32 percent from 76 percent, while minority shareholders will also cut their stakes in a listing that will give the company a market capitalisation of A$289 million.

The company aims to sell 86.1 million shares for A$1.93 ahead of a Dec. 17 listing. Just a month earlier, Australia’s Quadrant Private Equity listed rival billboard chain APN Outdoor Group Ltd.

On Friday, APN’s shares closed at A$2.47, a three percent discount to their A$2.55 issue price.

Australia is headed for its biggest year of IPO activity, with private equity firms rushing to exit their investments amid a relatively buoyant share market.

The listing effectively makes a swift 77 percent return on investment for CHAMP, which bought oOh! Media for A$163 million in March 2012.

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Russia’s Run Capital injects $6 millon in Californian mobile marketing startup AppInTop

East-West Digital News

AppInTop, a California-based company founded by Russian serial entrepreneur Nikolay Evdokimov, has secured $6 million in a Series A round from Moscow-based Run Capital. The capital injection will be used for marketing and business development.
AppInTop develops a mobile marketing platform that helps companies to “eliminate routine in app promotion” and “make life much easier for both indie publishers and large brands.”
AppInTop provides its clients with an access to “all ad networks in one interface.” Companies may set up, run and analyze their multichannel campaigns with a range of options and scalability designed for their marketing staff.
Run Capital is the first institutional investor in the company. As the result of the deal the fund has received a minority preference stake and Run Capital Managing Partner Andrey Romanenko has joined the board.
Currently AppInTop is operating in 30 countries and has partnered with Facebook, Twitter, Mail.ru, Admob and many other.
Run Capital is 1 billion ruble fund (approximately $22 million at the current exchange rate) launched this past spring by executives from Qiwi, a major Russian payment company. In August, the fund’s first investment went to excursion booking service Weatlas.
Several other venture funds with Russian origins or connections are active on the Californian market and in other Western countries. Amont the most important ones are Almaz Capital, Maxfield Capital, Phenomen Ventures and Runa Capital.

This story first appeared in East-West Digital News, a leading online resource on Russian digital industries.

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Mail.ru group to sell headhunter business to investor consortium led by Elbrus Capital

East-West Digital News

Mail.ru Group, a leading, LSE-listed Russian Internet group, is to sell 100% of shares in HeadHunter (hh.ru) to a consortium of investors led by direct investment fund Elbrus Capital.
The deal, which is worth a total of 9.85 billion rubles (a little less than $210 million at the current exchange rate), is still “subject to third-party approval,” the group announced. It expected to be completed in Q1 2015.
HeadHunter is a leading Russian jobs and recruitment site, founded in 2000 under the name ‘National Job Club’. In 2007 Yuri Milner’s Digital Sky Technologies bought a 24.5% stake in HeadHunter for $15 million, followed by a further 12% the following year.
In 2009 DST bought another 56.61% in the company for $37.5 million, before becoming Mail.ru Group in 2010, who went on to increase its stake in HeadHunter to 100% in 2012.
According to Mail.ru Group, the HeadHunter’s site ‘hh.ru’ receives 14 million unique visitors per month, and currently holds 15 million CVs, over 300,000 vacancies and is used by 420,000 companies.
According to Superjob CEO Alexey Zakharov, the company remains profitable, though it has suffered as a result of the current economic climate, in which the jobs market is showing little growth and there are few new vacancies.
Mail.ru Group recently spent a large part of its available cash on the acquisition of a 48% stake in Vkontakte, thus becoming the sole shareholder of Russia’s leading social leading network.
Source: Mail.ru GroupRusBase.vcVedomosti.ru

This story first appeared in East-West Digital News, a leading online resource on Russian digital industries.

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Ukrainian e-marketing agency acquires stake in Russia’s Q-page

East-West Digital News

Last week Netpeak, an e-marketing agency headquartered in Odessa, Ukraine, announced it has acquired a 10% stake in Q-Page, a Russian company that help individual entrepreneurs and SMBs create or optimize online sales pages. Netpeak paid $100,000 for the stake in Q-Page.
“There is a large number of customers who want to use the instruments of contextual advertising but don’t have an appropriate sales page. The key advantage of Q-Page is that it really is very easy to create a sales page. Almost anyone can do it,” Netpeak CEO Artem Borodatyuk explained.
“The other advantage is that the page template is designed for a single purpose: selling goods or services. Those are the two main reasons why Q-Page will succeed with small and medium-sized businesses,” he added.
In the Q-Page page maker, the process is organized so that the user does not have to be a programmer or designer. All pages in Q-Page are developed with an eye to adaptive technology – the page changes appearance depending on the screen so that it looked as attractive as possible on all modern devices. The service also features two levels of protection from errors while creating a sales page.
A sales page, according to the specialists at Q-Page, is more specialized than a landing page. It is a page that describes a good or service, contains a call to action and converts the visitor to a buyer. As a result, more buyers can be won on the same advertising budget.
Launched in 2006, Netpeak now has more than one hundred employees in its offices in Odessa and Kyiv (Kiev) as well as in Samara (Russia), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and New York. It claims to have conducted more than 1,200 projects involving nearly 450 Internet stores so far.
The agency has also announced the acquisition of a 51% stake in Bulgarian agency Optimization.bg in order to develop activities in this country.
Sources: AIN.UANetpeak

This story first appeared in East-West Digital News, a leading online resource on Russian digital industries.

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Australia’s APN Outdoor to raise $289 mln in IPO – source

SYDNEY, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Australian digital billboard firm APN Outdoor will raise A$329 million ($289 million) in an initial public offer, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, at the bottom of the range its private equity owner had hoped to sell for as appetite for new listings wanes in a weaker stock market.

Quadrant Private Equity will sell 129.1 million APN shares – equivalent to 78 percent of the company – for A$2.55 each, said the person who could not be identified because the matter was confidential. An IPO prospectus was lodged with authorities on Monday and gave the scheduled listing date as Nov. 11, the person added.

The sale gives APN Outdoor a market capitalisation of A$425 million, just short of the A$450 million the company would have been worth at the upper end of its original offer range. APN will retain a 22 percent stake, the person said.

Quadrant did not provide an immediate comment when contacted by Reuters. The relevant APN Outdoor executives were not immediately available.

Quadrant had initially proposed pricing the shares between A$2.55 and A$2.75.

Even though the price is at the bottom of the range, the fund is still making an investment return of 57 percent since buying APN Outdoor from its parent, APN News & Media Ltd , for a total A$244 million in two installments in 2012 and 2013, local media reported.

Australia is headed for its biggest year of IPO activity ever, up more than 400 percent in the first nine months of 2014 over the same period last year, according to Thomson Reuters data, as company owners seek to capitalise on what has been until recently a strong share market.

But since closing at a record high in early September the market has lost about 6 percent, hit by reports of slowing demand for resources in China and persistent economic weakness in Europe.

On Monday, Australian finance minister Mathias Cormann said the government has the right to cancel the November listing of state-owned health insurer Medibank Private (IPO-MDB.AX), worth up to A$5.5 billion, if market conditions worsen.

But the source said the APN listing will proceed regardless of market conditions because it is fully underwritten by joint lead managers Morgan Stanley and UBS.

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Australia’s APN Outdoor to offer up to A$349 mln in shares in IPO – source

SYDNEY, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Australia’s APN Outdoor plans to sell up to A$349 million ($306 million) in shares in an initial public offering as Quadrant Private Equity sells down its stake in the digital billboard company, a source working on the deal told Reuters on Friday.
* IPO would value company at up to A$450 mln
* Timing is flexible because of share market volatility
* Australia in record IPO year (Adds listing detail, share market volatility)
Quadrant has engaged investment bank UBS AG, which plans to lodge a prospectus with Australian authorities in the next week, said the source, who requested anonymity because of the market sensitivity of the matter.

The listing would give APN a market capitalisation of up to A$450 million. UBS has been conducting an investor roadshow for the listing but, at Quadrant’s request, has kept the timing flexible because of recent share market volatility, the source added.

Australia is headed for its biggest year of IPO activity ever, up more than 400 percent in the first nine months of 2014 over the same period last year, according to Thomson Reuters data, as company owners seek to capitalise on what has been until recently a strong share market.

But since reaching a record closing high in early September the market has lost about 8 percent, including nearly 2 percent on Friday, hit by reports of slowing demand for resources in China and an unexpected fall in German exports.

That is not expected to deter a listing by APN, the source said. The company is asking investors to buy up to 127 million shares at a price between A$2.55 and A$2.75 each.

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Berlin-Based Adtech Company Fyber Exits To RNTS Media For €150M

TechCrunch October 8, 2014
Another exit for a Berlin tech company, albeit not necessarily a home run. Fyber, the adtech company formerly known as SponsorPay has been acquired by the publicly-listed European media company RNTS Media. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, except to say that it’s a mixture of cash and stock, though we’re hearing from sources that the price is €150 million (which also tallies with the $190 million amount now being reported by VentureBeat, and an advisory issued by Anoa Capital).

As a result of the acquisition — which can really be viewed as a merger of sorts, given the size of the respective companies — Fyber will become a subsidiary of RNTS Media and will continue to operate independently under its existing leadership team. Fyber co-founder and CEO Andreas Bodczek will become Managing Director and CEO of the RNTS Media Management Board, and Janis Zech, co-founder and CRO of Fyber, will also join the Management Board.
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TMT Investments invests in Anews, Adinch, exits The One Page Company

East-West Digital News
Asserting itself as one of the most active Russian-backed funds operating internationally, TMT Investments announced during this month the completion of two investment deals, in addition to a small exit.
The fund, which usually invests just a few hundred thousand USD in each project, has injected a hefty $1 million in Anews, an international global news-reading service with a built-in behavioral advertising network. In exchange, TMT is set to receive 9.09% of the startup’s fully diluted equity capital. TMT’s investment came as a part of a $3 million round which involved other unnamed investors.
Incorporated in Delaware, Anews has developed a technological platform allowing news media companies to expand their reach, acquire new users for free and increase digital ad revenues. Anews provides each reader with a consolidated, personalized view of news content from news agencies, newspapers, magazines, blogs and social networks. 10 months after launch, Anews claims 1.5 million downloads of its mobile app and a 20% monthly audience growth rate of its website.
Anews was originally developed by 101 Startup, a company owned by TMT’s senior managers German Kaplun, Alexander Morgulchik and Artyom Inyutin. Following TMT’s capital injection, 101 Startup will keep a 62% stake in Anews’s equity capital.
Confirming confidence in mobile advertising
Adinch. An international mobile advertising network with an RTB (real-time bidding) self-service platform, Adinch claims to provide instant access to over 200 billion monthly ad impressions in 230 countries, on more than 200,000 mobile apps and mobile websites.
The startup was launched in Russia but incorporated in Delaware in 2012. It now has offices in San Francisco, Moscow and Kiev.
TMT, which had acquired a 20% stake in Adinch last year in exchange for a $1 million investment, has injected an additional $600,000 in the present round along with unnamed investors. “We wanted to maintain our original stake at this stage, because we believe in the company’s future,” stated TMT Investments Executive Director Alexander Selegenev in an exchange with East-West Digital News.
In March 2014, 101 Startup also invested in the company. Following the latest round, the two investors will hold stakes of 20% and 45% in the company, respectively, based on an equal $9 million equity valuation.

According to TMT Executive Director Alexander Selegenev, the fair value of the fund’s original investment in Adinch has increased by 80%, or approximately $800,000.
An exit with 32% IRR
In early August, TMT also announced the disposal of its investment in The One-Page Company, a San Francisco-based startup that develops software solutions to solve communications problems between enterprises and their employees.
TMT received $509,740 in the transaction, representing an internal rate of return (IRR) of 32%. TMT originally invested $250,000 in the company in February 2012.
Founded by the executive management team previously behind RBC, a major Russian financial information holding, and traded on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, TMT has raised $30million since its inception in 2010. Its portfolio includes more than 35 internet-based companies worldwide.
Earlier this summer, another investment from TMT went to Le Tote, a San-Francisco-based fashion rental site that defines its mission as “to become the leading fashion discovery platform where women can access, learn about and shop the best fashion every day.”
This story first appeared in East-West Digital News, a leading online resource on Russian digital industries.

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Berlin-Based Social Media Marketing Startup Brandnew Gets $1.9M In Seed Funding

Brandnew, a Berlin-based startup that helps brands create native ad campaigns for Instagram and Pinterest, announced that it has raised a total of $1.9 million in seed funding. This includes a $1.1 million grant from the city of Berlin, as well as $845,000 from investors including PubliGroupe, Berlin Ventures, and Lukas Kirche. Brandnew plans to use the funding for technology development, marketing, and signing new brand partnerships. The startup’s current clients include Coca-Cola, Adidas, Ford, Uber, and L’Oreal. The grant from the city of Berlin comes from the Program for the Promotion of Research, Innovation and Technology (Pro FIT).

Brandnew uses technology to automate the process of finding influential users on Pinterest and Instagram. Then it approaches them about participating in its network for native advertising on the two social media platform. The company says that it will soon implement a new tool to allow brands to search through a network of social media users based on specific criteria.
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