San Francisco-based mobile advertising startup Moolah Media has just announced that its latest brainchild, a much-publicized real-time bidding platform, is being taken out of beta.
Why a real-time bidding platform?
Moolah has taken the growing use of smartphones and tablets for “retail therapy” seriously from the outset, placing performance-based mobile phones advertising at the forefront of its mission. Its new baby lets advertisers manage bidding on numerous ad exchanges and networks. The technology behind the RTB platform is likely to appeal strongly to mobile advertising agencies, as it allows advertisers to determine the exact websites where their ads are displayed and where they aren’t.
Moolah’s CEO, Shawn Scheuer, says that the RTB feature has phenomenal speed. Because the firm positions its serving hubs physically near to its partners in publishing, response times are typically under 30 milliseconds. Scheuer insists that this is pivotal, since a publisher trying to complete an ad will have to check a range of networks in a fraction of a second.
The new platform adds to the company’s pricing model, which is performance based and supports pricing determined by clicks (CPC), impressions (CPM) and actions (CPA).
Revenues double in one year
At the same time as announcing that the RTB platform is coming out of beta, the firm also let drop that it’s raking in an additional $1 million in revenue every month. According to Scheuer, that’s about twice what Moolah was earning this time last year, and he’s confident that the figure will double come next year.
Scheuer makes no pretense that his firm’s growth has been smooth. Instead, like many enterprises, its revenue flow follows a pattern of remaining steady for periods then taking a big step forward as new workers come on board and generate some acceleration. Moolah’s growth would have been even quicker, Scheuer maintains, if it had secured external investment. By and large, however, the VCs he pitched to were too skeptical that the startup could make the performance model work for mobile, a closed door that drove Moolah to concentrate hard on profitability.
Enterprising types contemplating making a start in the mobile ad market might take heed of Scheuer’s summing up. He said, “I think we’ll prove that you can build a mobile advertising company that’s profitable, that it can be done at our scale, without any external investment.”