RTB whiz Neal Richter is the new CTO at Rakuten Marketing, the marketing solutions subsidiary of Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten.
Richter, who serves as a technical adviser to a number of ad tech startups, including Metamarkets and nToggle, joins the company after more than seven years with Rubicon Project, most recently as CTO.
At Rakuten, he’ll be responsible for driving technology innovation and uncovering revenue opportunities for the company’s advertiser and publisher customers.
Richter has quite the resume. In addition to helping pioneer programmatic specs like the OpenRTB standard and IAB Tech Lab initiatives like Ads.txt, he led a team of data scientists focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning at CRM company RightNow (acquired by Oracle in 2011).
Like some of its competitors, Rakuten Marketing has constructed its stack through a series of acquisitions, which range from smaller purchases, such as mobile demand-side platform Deep Forest Media and attribution tool DC Storm, to splashier deals, such as Rakuten’s acquisition of display platform MediaFORGE and the subsequent merger with its affiliate network, LinkShare.
Although affiliate marketing has long been the foundation of Rakuten Marketing’s business, the next opportunity lies in moving up the funnel into video as it seeks to unify formats like affiliate, display and mobile into “one holistic marketing channel,” said Tony Zito, CEO of Rakuten Marketing.
Zito and Richter spoke with AdExchanger about how Rakuten is evolving as performance blends with branding.
AdExchanger: Why move to Rakuten Marketing, Neal?
NEAL RICHTER: I was looking for a company with a big vision, a great team, lots of data assets and some large engineering problems to go after.
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