As programmatic buying and agency trading desks replaced ad networks, Collective’s peers have either evolved their business models, been acquired or are struggling. Undertone, which, like Collective UK, specialized in creative services, sold to Perion last December, for example. Time Inc. picked up Viant in February. Other ad networks became demand-side platforms or supply-side platforms.
Collective has gone both the tech route and, with the sale of its UK business, the acquisition route.
“We want to be tech-first globally vs. having a managed services business in every market, which is what we did in the US and UK,” Apprendi said.
Besides selling the UK business, Collective raised $34 million in growth funding in June, bringing its total funding to more than $100 million. Although its investors were aware of the impending Time Inc. sale, he said, the investment was not contingent on its close.
The funds will add to the $20 million in research and development that Collective has already invested in its Visto platform. Apprendi envisions an “enterprise advertising hub,” with Visto expanding from a self-service reporting tool to a platform that unifies data, workflow and execution.