David Soloff, CEO of Metamarkets, shares details of his company's first round of financing as well as positioning for the company as it prepares for its next steps.
AdExchanger.com: Can you share a bit of background on you? And, where did the genesis of the idea come from for Metamarkets?
DS: My cofounder Mike Driscoll and I have a diverse background. I come from the world of quantitative finance, by way of digital media and analytics. Mike comes from genomics and bioinformatics, by way of massive scale data analytics on behalf of media, banking and telecom. Given the market opportunity we're addressing, our skills and experiences complement each other really well.
The idea for Metamarkets came from two principal places: my time working in the financial markets where the amazing information flow and diverse data sets and products available to the actors in those markets create liquidity, efficiency and velocity for all principals. And from my time at Rapt where I learned how little data and information is available to the supply-side principal actors in the media markets, despite the best attempts of the optimizers to deliver value to publishers. The situation for the supply side has only deteriorated since 2008 when Microsoft bought Rapt.
What problem is Metamarkets solving?
Metamarkets delivers price discovery to large scale global media companies who are overwhelmed by the velocity, granularity and quantity of media transaction data. This data is primary economic signal, the publishers generate it and own it, but they don't have (nor should they diverge from their critical path to develop) the expertise or tools to capture and make sense of this data. The emergence over the past 18-24 months of an "open source big data stack" built off tools such as HIVE, ZeroMQ, R, and Amazon's EC2 platform means that a global media company can now elect to subscribe to data aggregation and analytics as a cost-effective, value-enhancing service. The global media company can execute on its core competency, we can provision the massive scale data capture and real-time analytics on their event streams. The model seems to be working well.
You've been out raising money. As an entrepreneur, what type of investor works best for you?
We do better with smart investors. We were looking for investors who would deliver value far in excess of the capital they'd contribute. We're building a complicated product, one not easily summed up in a Hollywood-style tagline. I can't really find a way to use 'virality' when talking about my business, despite trying on a few occasions. Our analytics look awesome on an iPad and iPhone -- but that doesn't mean we are building a consumer product or service. I hesitate to call this an enterprise business -- let's just say it's enterprise scale in terms of data processed and computing cycles consumed. By the end of our fundraising process last month, it was pretty clear within about 10 seconds or a call or meeting who got it and who didn't. We need investors who are not scared off by complicated technologies and large datasets. I don't apologize for the business we're building, not to anyone -- it's critical for an entrepreneur to persevere and find the right partners.
How much capital did you end up raising and with whom? What do you plan to do with the funds?
We raised $2.5 million from a wonderful group of value-add institutional and strategic investors. Our lead investor is Roger Ehrenberg, who made the investment through his big data fund, IA Ventures. Other institutional investors include Village Ventures who have deep expertise in financial technologies, True Ventures, Founder Collective and Maples / Floodgate. On the strategic side, we're very fortunate to have the support of Stan Shuman and Gillian Munson of the investment bank Allen & Co.; Aol Ventures; Jim Pallotta of the hedge fund Raptor; Dennis Crowley of FourSquare; Josh Stylman and Peter Hershberg; Sean Park and Uday Goyal, European investors who have tremendous financial technology chops and have backed some of the most innovative data businesses out there.
Is Metamarkets in-market today? Anything you can share regarding roll-out plans?
We're in a closed alpha with four partners through the end of 3Q10. We have folks lined up for a beta starting toward the end of the year. We've been really pleasantly surprised with the traction we've gotten. It's going to be a busy few months for us.