Accordant Media Aims at Big Agency Rivals

Why should big agency holding companies have a monopoly on real-time, audience-based buying?

That’s the question being asked by the team behind Accordant Media. The startup, founded by a pair of digital agency veterans, is aggressively maneuvering to become an independent trading desk that will compete with the likes of Publicis’ VivaKi and IPG’s Cadreon.

Founders Art Muldoon, formerly of Aegis and Razorfish, and Matt Greitzer, who ran search marketing at the latter shop, are looking to open up the trading desk buying model — allowing firms to purchase ads targeted only to specific users — to independent media agencies that might not have the means to build out their own trading desks. Think agencies like Horizon Media or AKQA.

And unlike most of the existing trading desks, which have been established by the top global agency firms, Accordant won’t be limited to working with just a particular holding company’s clients, and won’t be limited to working with big-name advertisers, according to Muldoon, Accordant’s CEO.

“This is a very specialized skill set, and we provide an on ramp for more agencies to participate,” said Muldoon. “And we’re Switzerland.”

For example, the company has recently partnered with independent San Francisco-based Red Bricks Media, which is headed by former Mindshare CEO Scott Neslund and handles clients like Nestle and American Express, as well as the agency Beeby Clark + Meyler. To help facilitate buys for these agencies, Accordant has signed a pact with AppNexus, which provides a real-time ad serving platform.

In addition, the company is hoping to service clients who typically purchased media in-house — or don’t work with agencies at all. Among the brands Accordant has worked with is the travel search engine Kayak and