Razorfish Exec Bolts for Mobile Ads Startup

Paul Gelb joins MoPub after five years with digital shop

Maximizing one's impact almost always requires a sharp focus. That concept seems to be at the center of Paul Gelb’s decision to leave Razorfish—where he helped the digital shop build its mobile practice for the last half decade—to become head of strategy at MoPub, a two-year-old mobile ad exchange that’s announcing the hire today (Sept. 18).

“Having been at a full-service agency that was part of a holding company that was all traditional media, you really have to figure out where you want to focus if you want to institute change," Gelb said. "In order to bring more dollars into the space, things need to happen in a different part of the ecosystem. If I could be a part of building those pipes and making monetization happen for everyone from magazines to TV companies to new app developers, that’s something I am really excited about doing.”

In a sit-down with Adweek, Gelb cited numerous growth statistics around mobile—from usage data to ad spend numbers—to back an argument that the space was nearing a critical juncture.

“I think we are ready for advertising,” he said. “And I think MoPub is in a good place to enable monetization and solve the problems by being focused.”

Gelb, 32, started as a Razorfish intern five years ago and quickly ascended to mobile lead for the agency. For MoPub, he will remain in New York to foster relationships with potential clients in the world’s unofficial advertising capital. He'll likely pitch his new employer's four-month-old marketplace for select publishers and brands; the latter can buy up choice inventory via MoPub before it offers the same slots to the rest of the advertising community.

“His contributions to building MoPub’s footprint with agencies and brand advertisers will be impactful to our publishers,” said Jim Payne, MoPub CEO, in a statement.

According to MoPub, its exchange serves 15 billion ads per month across 10,000 apps and 5,000 publishers, connecting publishers to 40 demand-side platforms. The San Francisco-based firm says it competes for brand marketing dollars with mobile ad firms Nexage, AppNexus, Mobclix and DoubleClick.

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