Myspace marketer's programmatic ad firm lists on ASX

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 14 December 2017

Founded by the former head of strategic marketing at Myspace, Ted Dhanik, US-based programmatic advertising and social media influencer marketing firm Engage:BDR has today listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

The West Hollywood headquartered business, which says it's experienced high revenue growth since its inception in 2009, is expected to have an IPO market capitalisation on listing day of $50 million.

Its other founders include Kurtis Rintala and Kenneth Kwan, and is led by a board, including non-executive director Tom Anderson, who co-founded Myspace in 2003 and sold it to News Corporation in 2005 for US$580m.

It is yet to secure clients in Australia, but has its eye on growing business locally. It works direct with advertisers and publishers and clients including McDonald's, Hyundai,Toyota and T-Mobile are thought to be on its books.

While no Australian-based staff are listed on LinkedIn, AdNews can confirm it's set to open a local office here.

Its offering includes designing campaigns, strategy, through buying and delivery, to post-campaign reporting and analytics. It claims its tech conducts up to 40 billion dynamic online advertising auctions each day.

Speaking to AdNews on why it opted for the ASX to float, co-founder and executive chairman of Engage:BDR, Dhanik, says the ASX was an appropriate exchange at this stage of its development.

“It’s a well respected stock market internationally, which we needed to make acquisitions, and you really need to be a billion dollar plus company raising $50m plus to be listing on Nasdaq,” Dhanik says.

Its Australasian expansion plans, interest from investors and the international credibility of the ASX, all ultimately led the company to decide to list on the ASX.

The firm works with both publishers and advertisers

The business has developed proprietary programmatic technology to manage internet video and display advertising for advertising agencies as well as the websites that display those advertisements. It acts as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers and consolidates vast amounts of advertising inventory, automates complicated workflows and offers precise targeting capabilities to advertisers at significant scale.

It will compete locally with the likes of Tribe, Hypetap and Vamp in the influencer marketing stakes. It's other services will also likely overlap with ad tech vendors and some media agency offerings – adding further to an already cluttered ad tech market. As predicted, further consolidation has occurred across adland this year.  Today Nuffnang was the sixth global business to pull back on its Australian operations this year, with AdrollPandoraHuffPost, Soundcloud and ComScore all significantly reducing their presence.

Engage:BDR has also cottoned onto the influencer marketing category with its development of 'IconicReach', an influencer marketing product.

According to eMarketer, the estimated revenue from influencer marketing on Instagram alone was more than US$570 million in 2016. The sector growth outlook is also strong, with 48% of marketers saying they plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2017.

Its IconicReach offering also provides capabilities for Instagram influencer marketing through activities such as discovering influencers for a specific marketing campaign, providing engagement data to better vet influencers, measuring advertisers’ return on investment (ROI), providing comprehensive reporting and data analytics systems and allowing brands to launch campaigns across hundreds of pages with one click. The company believes IconicReach is the only self-serve influencer marketing platform focused on advertiser-created content.

Ben Faulkner of Sanlam Private Wealth, lead manager to the IPO, says: “We had strong interest from Australian and Asian investors, with the IPO book being more than two times over-subscribed.

“The IPO register will comprise a mix of retail investors and institutional fund managers. Several quality institutional funds managers have invested, including the highly rated OC Funds Management.”

Business joins an already cluttered market

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