Former Havas CEO David Jones is adding another startup to his “brand technology” company You & Mr Jones, this time to tackle mobile brand safety.
The firm has acquired a majority stake in Mobkoi, a London-based mobile shop that handles media planning, buying, creative and campaign delivery for clients including GE, Mulberry, Nespresso and Bentley.
“It’s a great business in a very fast-growing and increasingly important vertical—mobile,” Jones, founder and CEO of You & Mr Jones, said. “We can help make it a truly global business by helping them with their geographic expansion.”
To address brand safety, Mobkoi uses a whitelisting process that lets brands pick individual websites from a list of 1,000 publishers, including the BBC, The Financial Times, Vogue, Bloomberg and Reuters, to determine where their ads appear.
For example, Nespresso may request to only run mobile ads on GQ’s website. “Our whitelists can be as short as one or two publications,” explained Mobkoi co-founder and CEO Quentin Le Pape.
From there, advertisers can zero in on specific sections or verticals within mobile apps and websites and then use what’s called “negative keyword targeting” to eliminate promos from running alongside negative content.
Since founding Mobkoi in 2014, brothers Quentin and Guillaume Le Pape have opened offices in France and Germany. As part of the acquisition, Mobkoi is opening an office in New York and other locations in Dubai, Singapore and Sydney. Jones described the upcoming opening of the office in New York as similar to when the firm acquired European data company fifty-five last year. Fifty-five now has an office in New York with 20 staffers who work with brands like Calvin Klein, Chanel and Shiseido.
“Mobkoi has built an extremely impressive business that combines the power of storytelling with the latest in mobile technology,” Jones said. “Importantly, the company also helps luxury and premium brands address the key issue of brand safety and ensure that their content is appearing in the environments where it deserves to be.”
Jones launched You & Mr Jones in 2015 to focus on acquiring tech firms to help build brands. In addition to Mobkoi and fifty-five, Jones’ firm has acquired Mofilm and theAmplify and launched two startups, Blood and Mosaic. You & Mr Jones has also invested in 13 tech companies including Ninantic, Mashable and Beeswax.