The Rubicon Project is taking aim at Google in the hope of winning favor with publishers as an alternative to the DoubleClick ad platform.
The Los Angeles-based company, which has $43 million in venture funding and 160 employees, has hired Allen & Company as it looks to close another big round of financing and mulls acquisitions to expand its suite of ad tools for publishers.
Rubicon began as a yield-management system that helped publishers better organize their ad network relationships. It has expanded into a broader ad platform for publishers, and this year aims to provide ad serving, forecasting and measurement for both premium and remnant inventory. About 200 publishers, including CareerBuilder and The Washington Post, use Rubicon's Revv platform.
With Google now owning DoubleClick, publishers would be wise to explore alternatives, said J.T. Batson, evp of revenue and global development at Rubicon, since Google ultimately aims to get access to its inventory for its ad network. Publishers are under more pressure than ever with declining ad rates, he noted.
"They're very scared about feeding the monster that is Google," he said, describing DoubleClick as "legacy technology," adding: "Their incentives are not aligned with publishers as far as being their technology platform."
Barry Salzman, Google's newly named head of media and platforms for the Americas, dismissed criticisms of the company's approach to publishers, saying it offered a variety of tools for publishers to maximize yield, either through its own sales force, Google's ad network or the DoubleClick exchange.
"DoubleClick's real focus was on how you create the right set of tools for publishers to make smart decisions about monetization of inventory," he said.
Rubicon is looking to raise "tens of millions" in additional funding, Batson said, both to build out the publisher platform and expand internationally.
Other than Google, Rubicon's competitors include WPP Group's 24/7 Real Media and Open X, as well as yield managers like AdMeld and Pubmatic.