Ad tech moves quick, particularly as the online display leaders race to add social, mobile and video capabilities. To keep pace those companies may need to buy rather than build. Case in point: MediaMath. The demand-side platform announced on Tuesday that it has picked up Tap.Me, a mobile ad startup that specializes in in-game mobile and video ads.
“We are sort of continuing the inevitable march to become the buying platform across all forms of digital,” said MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki. The New York-based ad tech company had built out its mobile and video capabilities internally, but Zawadzki acknowledged they were “not the world-class solution that we needed.”
While MediaMath had considered co-developing the capabilities with a partner, the cons outweighed the pros. “We might pick up efficiency from co-development, but what we would gain would be lost in the domain expertise of having been doing this for a number of years and understanding the nuances [like mobile ad targeting and familiarity with various platforms],” Zawadzki said.
Enter Tap.Me. The Chicago-based startup was founded as a game company in 2009 but pivoted a year later into the verdant in-game mobile ad space. Zawadzki resolved that acquisition was the best path to improving MediaMath’s mobile technology, and the companies began talks about three months ago, closing the deal last Friday, he said.
Tap.Me will bring all employees under the MediaMath umbrella to anchor the company's Chicago base with a concentration on mobile and video. Tap.Me CEO Matt Spiegel—who joined last year after heading Omnicom Media Group Digital—will serve as svp and gm of Open, MediaMath’s digital interoperability business, and head up the company’s Midwest operations. Zawadzki said the two companies’ technologies should be fully integrated within the next three months.
MediaMath claims the acquisition makes it the first programmatic DSP to span online, social, mobile and video—though Turn might have something to say about that. Zawadzki said MediaMath differentiates by not just making the ad-buying workflow easier but also through its machine-learning optimization technologies.
Zawadzki wouldn’t disclose the purchase price, but sources indicated that the deal was a win for Tap.Me’s investors. The startup had raised $4.6 million in venture funding, as of March.