One of the biggest startup success stories in the mobile world is AdMob, a mobile advertising company that Google acquired for $750 million. Now Accel Partners, one of the firms that first backed AdMob (and was also an early investor in Facebook), is leading a $6.5 million investment in mobile ad startup MoPub.
In the announcement press release, Accel partner Rich Wong described MoPub as "the next big mobile monetization business." CEO Jim Payne compares the company to DoubleClick and AdMeld —two ad services that were both acquired by Google. (The $400 million AdMeld deal was announced last month.) Rather than getting into the ad network businesses, MoPub provides mobile application publishers with the technology to mix advertising from a number of sources, including direct sales, networks, and promotional campaigns for the publishers' other apps.
But if MoPub is the DoubleClick or AdMeld of smartphone advertising, does that mean it will eventually end up competing with Google? After all, the online ad giant is clearly interested in mobile. Payne, who has worked at both Google and AdMob, said, "That's probably what I would have thought before being at AdMob for a year," but he realized that there's an opportunity for a mobile-focused company.
"You just realize that mobile is so different," he added. "There's a lot of nuances—even basic things like orientation of the device."
The new round comes after MoPub raised seed funding in December from Accel and Harrison Metal Capital. (Harrison also participated in the new funding.) The company has been growing faster than expected, which is why it raised the money now, Payne said. MoPub announced last month that it's serving 1 billion ad requests per month. Payne says that for now, most of its customers are game publishers, but he expects other kinds of publishers to start signing up too.