Jun 24 2010

The rise of RTB and our investment in Triggit

Clearly a hot topic in online ad-tech right now is the rise of exchange-based buying and the advent of real-time bidding platforms (RTB) that allow advertisers and publishers to transact on an impression by impression basis. Given all the focus on RTB I sometimes have to remind myself that true real-time trading is less than a year into its existence. And given its nascence, the landscape of companies (buy side platforms, sell side platforms, data providers, agencies, brands, publishers, etc.) that are playing a part in these exchanges is changing rapidly.

We’ve long been believers in audience based buying and selling of ad inventory. Our investment in Lijit is largely around this concept and more obviously, our work with AdMeld, which is a leader in the RTB world, falls squarely into this thesis. And while I’m not one for sweeping (and superlative) predictions around the future of the ad ecosystem (here I’m specifically not predicting the death of all ad networks), it’s clear from my vantage point that more and more inventory – both remnant and non-remnant – will be processed through real-time platforms. This leads to some interesting questions about how publishers will need to alter the decision making engines in their ad stacks and how blurry the line will become between premium and remnant inventory (there’s a continuum there that technology such as RTB is clearly stretching out; as an aside, we need to come up with a word for inventory that’s between house sold premium and what we traditionally called remnant).

Clearly the rise of sell side platforms such as AdMeld and AdEx needs to be matched by new thinking on the demand side. And while there are a number of companies creating DSP’s (including, of course, Invite Media who recently sold to Google) few (if any) were built from the ground up to exist in the exchange world as it’s currently evolved to. And as a result, the demand side as a whole seems to be lagging in its ability to handle the rapidly increasing scale and complexity of supply.

The ability to handle this massive transaction volume is what first attracted us to Triggit, a company we announced an investment in today (see the Triggit blog, AdExchanger, MediaPost and TechCrunch). However it was their application of additional technology to this supply to allow advertisers and agencies to run more effective campaigns that really made the company stand out.

Triggit was the first DSP to develop a self service interface which allows buyers to plan and schedule campaigns across exchanges. Triggit has also been a leader in enabling advertisers to better target audience by allowing them to append both third and (importantly) first party data to their transaction decision engine. The Triggit team – lead by Zach and Susan Coelius and Ryan Tecco – is fantastic. Both in their ability to push the limits of technology in the DSP world as well as their ability to work with leading agencies and Fortune 500 marketers to enable their exchange buying. We’re joined in this investment with Spark Capital’s Santo Politi, with whom I’ve developed a close relationship over the past several years.

We’re thrilled to have Triggit in the Foundry family.