Mobile

Mobile ad optimizer Smaato caps year of rapid growth with new funding

Smaato, a company that helps mobile publishers find the most lucrative ads across multiple networks, just raised $7 million as it prepares to expand its efforts in Southeast Asia.

When I last spoke to Smaato at the end of 2009, the company was crowing about how it had grown from serving 100 to 1,000 publishers in a year. Now cofounder and chief marketing officer Harald Neidhardt said the company has grown by yet another order of magnitude, with 11,000 publishers currently signed up.

One likely reason for the fast growth is what Neidhardt identified as one of the big trends in the past year: the fact that the company is now working with partners like Pubmatic and Alcatel Lucent that can connect Smaato with a bunch of publishers at once.

Again, Smaato isn’t an ad network, but rather a service for pulling advertising from different ad networks (the company says it works with more than 50 of them). Competitors include Nexage and Opera’s Open Mobile Ad Exchange, although Neidhardt that there’s just as much partnership and “coopetition” in the industry as there is out-and-out competition. And of those companies, Smaato has the best support for publishers and advertisers outside the United States, he said.

The round was led by Singaporean firm EDBI, which Neidhardt said was a logical investor since Smaato sees its next big opportunity in Southeast Asia. The company is headquartered in Redwood Shores, Calif., but it has a global sales and support team, including an office in Singapore.

Existing backer Aeris Capital also invested in the new round.


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