Mobile

AdColony hires Apple veteran to run fast-growing mobile video ad business (exclusive)

AdColony has been on a tear growing its mobile video ad network business in the past two quarters. Now it’s positioning itself for more growth with the appointment of a new chief revenue officer from Apple.

Mike Owen formerly served as senior manager of Apple’s iAD business, leading a staff of 40 people in New York. His departure from Apple is interesting since it is a relatively rare career event and it speaks well of the company he is joining.

“I joined because I saw a great leadership team and a company solving one problem very well,” Owen said in an interview with GamesBeat. “The mobile ecosystem is cluttered, but their technology works and it keeps consumers engaged with video and it’s fantastic for marketers.”

AdColony, formerly known as Jirbo, developed a high-quality video player that was able to deliver high-definition video over wireless connections. It made the player available to advertising companies that wanted to show movie trailers and other videos as advertisements on iPhones. These ads are taking off as consumers multi-task with their tablets and smartphones while watching TV. AdColony can be used to monetize apps and games because advertisers can insert video ads into the apps. Those free-to-play apps can generate revenue from the advertising views, which means more money for developers who normally rely only on virtual goods sales. If a user doesn’t have the money to buy a virtual good, an advertiser can subsidize the transaction.

Will Kassoy, chief executive of Santa Monica, Calif.-based AdColony, said the company has seen 10-fold revenue growth in its mobile video ads during both of the last two quarters.

“We are super excited to have Mike on board,” Kassoy said.

AdColony has also hired Ty Heath as its chief technology officer and Abe Pralle as its vice president of technology. Both Heath and Pralle previously were founding partners at Plasmaworks. Owen will be based in Los Angeles and will be responsible for revenue, sales management, and growth. Owen joined Apple in 2009 when the company acquired the advertising company Quattro Wireless.

“Working at Apple was a great experience and so was launching iAds,” Owen said. “But I wanted to get back into an earlier stage company. I have done mobile for a long time and I see a ton of opportunity here.”

AdColony was founded in 2008. Rivals include Tapjoy, Zynga, and Greystripe. AdColony has 35 employees.


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