Distressed Triggit Scooped Up By Gravity4, Gurbaksh Chahal's Merger Machine

gurbaksh-coeliusGravity4, the ad tech firm started by Gurbaksh Chahal in the wake of his firing from RadiumOne, has acquired retargeter Triggit in a probable fire sale.

Triggit's three founders, including its red-shirted CEO Zach Coelius, are leaving the company in the wake of the sale. Its management received multiple offers, and Gravity4 was both the highest bid and the one that preserved the largest number of employees. Its 4o remaining employees, including five in Brazil, will go over to Gravity4.

The acquisition is Gravity4's seventh, which suggests Chahal may be sweeping up distressed firms for the incremental revenue, customer base and publicity benefits those transactions generate.

But 8-year-old Triggit delivers at least one concrete benefit: a seat at Facebook's private exchange. When Facebook recently pared down the list of firms allowed to buy on FBX, Triggit kept its badge.

The companies did not disclose deal terms, but a source tells AdExchanger that Triggit has urgently sought a buyer in recent weeks as it churned through its remaining cash with no prospects to raise further funds, and may have been close to shutting down the business.

Triggit has long been a fixture on the digital advertising scene, having begun as a display ad retargeter before pivoting to Facebook-only retargeting and pivoting (again) to native advertising formats. In recent years it had gained some apparent traction in the retail sector and the Brazilian market, but evidently not enough to attract new investors or achieve profitability.

As of July, Triggit claimed 200 customers. Coelius told AdExchanger at that time that Triggit tripled its 2013 gross media revenue compared to 2012, thanks to its traction on the Facebook platform.

Both companies have notorious CEOs. Triggit's CEO, Coelius, has long been a familiar and outspoken presence at industry conferences – known for his brash, on-mic comments and occasional agency provocations.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Chahal, known for selling two ad startups before the age of 25, generated waves of ugly headlines last year as he battled charges of domestic assault. Those charges led to his eventual firing by the board of his third ad tech company, RadiumOne.

RadiumOne is still in business and Chahal remains a major investor, but that hasn't stopped him from charging ahead with his new company, which he seems to be growing through minor acquisitions. The company purchased a who's who of "who?" startups in recent months, including Zurmo, Argyle Social and Kanary NEST. Chahal even made a run at RadiumOne, but was rebuffed.

"This adds a unique offering to our product suite, allowing us to enter various additional verticals including travel [and] ecommerce and [to] introduce native programmatic advertising to the marketplace," Chahal said in a press release. "We are also thrilled to have one of the few direct seats on the Facebook’s Ad Exchange, and look forward in continuing our investment on one of the most powerful supply sources today, Facebook.”

In addition to Coelius, Triggit's COO Susan Coelius Keplinger (Coelius's sister) and its CTO Ryan Tecco are also departing the company.

Triggit and Gravity4 executives did not respond to interview requests.





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