There are dozens of digital ad startups ready to sell in the mobile and social categories, and IgnitionOne aims to grab a couple. The company, which bought data-management platform Knotice in March, will use a new $20 million investment from SoftBank and others to continue its streak of M&A.
"My belief is that social is going to go the way of the search platforms, which created a fairly easy way to buy across multiple engines," said Will Margiloff, CEO of IgnitionOne. Despite the rise of a handful of Facebook preferred marketing developers that support campaigns on Twitter and LinkedIn, he said for the most part, "That doesn't exist today in the social space."
On the mobile side, Margiloff said there are many smart entrepreneurs working at companies that still have relatively low revenues. He estimates the largest cross-device targeting companies make in the realm of $20 million in annual revenue, a tiny sum by comparison to many general demand-side platforms.
Previously a division of Dentsu-owned Aegis, IgnitionOne was spun off last year. It now employs 450 in 10 countries, and has sought to position itself as a Software-as-a-Service platform for a range of digital marketing channels – including optimized paid media, marketing automation and lead generation. About 70% of its revenue comes from SaaS contracts and 30% from managed services, Margiloff said.
Agencies including 360i and GroupM work with it on behalf of clients General Motors, Bridgestone, La Quinta and Fiat.
The round will also support sales and marketing activities. ABS Capital Partners and Brown Savano joined SoftBank in the investment.
"The capital is to continue to look for M&A targets that fill out white space missing today in the platform," said Margiloff. "The connection of pieces is quite interesting. We're dealing with both sides of the space that deals with advertising and marketing. From media channels at top of funnel down to DMP capabilities."