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Kargo — from struggling start-up to top mobile advertising agency

New York’s ‘Kar­go’ has learned a thing or two about being a mobile adver­tis­ing agency since 2003; and its $50 mil­lion annu­al rev­enue proves it.

An ‘exis­ten­tial evolution’

Peo­ple with media jobs in a fledg­ling mobile adver­tis­ing agency may strug­gle to com­pre­hend how a busi­ness can be that suc­cess­ful AND buy out its for­mer finan­cial back­ers only five years after it launched (which is what Kargo’s founder and CEO Lar­ry Kargman did back in 2008). It may there­fore come as some com­fort to know that it wasn’t plain sail­ing at the out­set. In the ear­ly days, Kar­go strug­gled to sur­vive with its orig­i­nal focus: down­load­able media like games and ringtones.

Kargman took heed of what the media com­pa­nies he was work­ing with were say­ing about what they real­ly need­ed: in a word, that was adver­tis­ing. And Kar­go duly began to switch empha­sis, mor­ph­ing (or under­go­ing an “exis­ten­tial evo­lu­tion,” as Kargman puts it) into a mobile adver­tis­ing spe­cial­ist con­cen­trat­ing its efforts on the mobile web.

Kargman told TechCrunch jour­nal­ist Anton­hy Ha: “We fig­ured out that for us to exist, we would need to become real­ly good at devel­op­ing great mobile web experiences.”

Seri­ous­ly smooth native ads

Alysia Bor­sa, Senior VP of Mobile and Chief Dig­i­tal Offi­cer at media and mar­ket­ing giant Mered­ith, explains what makes Kar­go stand out from the crowd: “Mobile has become increas­ing­ly cen­tral to our greater dig­i­tal strat­e­gy and Kar­go is a key part­ner from a strate­gic and rev­enue gen­er­a­tion perspective.

Kar­go is our pri­ma­ry mobile adver­tis­ing part­ner, pro­vid­ing inno­v­a­tive mobile ad prod­ucts and work­ing exten­sive­ly with our direct sales team to dri­ve rev­enue. In the last 8 months in par­tic­u­lar, Kar­go has enabled new inte­grat­ed ad units and ramped sales with major advertisers.”

Kargman and his team have put a lot of work into dis­tin­guish­ing the company’s approach to mobile adver­tis­ing: it spe­cial­izes in seam­less­ly inte­grat­ed native adver­tis­ing. This goes well beyond mere in-stream ad units. Kar­go ads are smooth­ly and appeal­ing­ly inte­grat­ed through­out the con­tent (take a look at some exam­ples here).

As for the future, Kargman has his sights on the ongo­ing trend toward auto­mat­ed ad buy­ing and sell­ing. Kar­go has already laid the foun­da­tion for this, he claims, by hav­ing its plat­form inte­grat­ed direct­ly onto the page. That means it’s admirably posi­tioned to give its clients a full end-to-end solu­tion for programmatic

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