Media

Hot ad startup AdRoll rebrands, hires engineers away from Rivet Games (exclusive)

Above: Adroll CEO and founder Aaron Bell.

Hot advertising tech startup AdRoll made headlines last month when it hired Google sales director Suresh Khanna. But the company is not done hiring by a long shot and has just brought onboard two top engineers from Rivet Games, a move the company revealed today as its new rebranding goes live.

While ad technology may not exactly be sexy, it will ultimately shape how the web functions. Advertising funds nearly every free web product you get, so the big question for companies is how to improve the process of selling ads while not annoying the crap out of web users. AdRoll might have cracked that code somewhat with display advertising by offering a platform for retargeted ads. Retargeting basically increases the chance of bringing customers back to your online store or site after they’ve left, and its LiquidAds take that a step further by showing users specific products again. AdRoll customers include Microsoft, Hipmunk, BustedTees, and the Portland Trail Blazers.

AdRoll CEO Aaron Bell (pictured) told VentureBeat that a lot of pieces of the AdRoll puzzle are falling into place right now, as the company tries to control its growth. In 2011, AdRoll had a 414 percent increase in revenue, a 400 percent increase in ad impressions, and a 334 percent rise in customers, which now number more than 3,500. It is also now profitable.

The new engineering hires from Rivet Games go hand-in-hand with the company’s growth and controlling the huge amount of data it processes on customers and conversions. Customer needs and demands are growing fast, so the company has to scale up operations with its SaaS platform. Along with opening a new data center, it’s also working to improve its RTBuddha real-time bidding technology.

“It’s hugely important that we’re able to crunch large data sets,” Bell told us. “We think we can be the next [Google] AdWords, and the value we provide is similar to that.”

adroll-logoAs for the re-branding, AdRoll has a new logo (right) and site that are live today. As AdRoll’s profile gets bigger, Bell said the company wants to be taken a bit more seriously. The colors have changed from pink and blue to black and blue, and AdRoll will soon launch a new user interface for its SaaS dashboard.

“This is industry leading technology and we care about keeping up with our customers,” Bell said. “With the introduction of the new branding, and as we continue to scale our technology, we’re looking to attract all kinds of customer segments.”

Together, these latest moves by AdRoll represent a shift from being a lean startup to one that makes waves in its industry. No doubt AdRoll will be a company we’ll be watching this year.

San Francisco-based AdRoll has raised just $4 million in a single round of funding, with backing from the likes of Merus Capital, Accel Partners, Peter Thiel, and Max Levchin.


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