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Dozens of companies are rushing to capture the emergent native-ad market, and each one is desperate to differentiate itself. PubNative’s gambit for this is mobile ad customization.

Born out of mobile game-marketing startup AppLift, PubNative today announced the launch of its company, bringing yet another mobile native ad platform into the world. But PubNative is different from MoPub, TapJoy, and other native ad firms, the company said, because its platform shuns software development kits (SDKs) in favor of a “simple” API.

In other words, PubNative wants to one-up the native-ad template.

“Most of the solutions out there come in the form of predefined formats available through an SDK,” wrote PubNative cofounder Ionut Ciobotaru in a blog post. “Although customizable to a certain extent — colors, size, etc. — these native integrations do not enable publishers to fully integrate the ad into their app’s user experience and provide a genuinely native experience.”

PubNative is a finalist in the MobileBeat Innovation Showdown, which will take place tomorrow at our MobileBeat 2014 conference in San Francisco.

Of course, the customizability and flexibility of an API enables companies to craft native ad units that sufficiently match the look and feel of their apps, Ciobotaru posited. Through PubNative’s API, publishers can customize 21 parameters of their ads, from app name, icon, screenshots, and rating to custom images, image sizes, and description text.

PubNative API

App publishers Pinger and Happy Labs have already hopped onboard. They’ve crafted their own native ad units through PubNative and sourced ads through the “PubNative Exchange,” which offers access to over 300 app advertisers, according to PubNative.

PubNative also announced that AppLift has invested over $1 million in the company. It didn’t disclose the precise value of the “seven digit” round.

Native ads are ads designed and formatted to blend in with surrounding content, like camouflage. The most widespread example of native advertising is on Facebook, which inserts sponsored posts into people’s news feeds alongside updates from their friends and pages they’ve liked.

Other companies focused on native mobile advertising include MoPub, TapSense, and Airpush.

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