Q&A: RNTS Media’s CEO Discusses His Company’s Rapidly Growing Mobile Ad Tech Stack


Andreas BodczekOne of the leading acquirers of mobile ad tech companies has been RNTS Media, a Berlin-based holding company with ambitions to become the dominant mobile ad tech player not only in Europe but globally. Here Andreas Bodczek, CEO, RNTS Media, discusses the company’s origins and plans for the future, ad tech investment in Europe, the walled gardens of Google and Facebook, and how to make mobile advertising commercially viable.

RNTS Media appears to have come from nowhere. Could you provide an overview of the group and where it came from? 

RNTS Media may appear to have come from nowhere but I’d prefer to think of the group – and our strategy – as both the product and driver of a fast evolving digital economy that is challenging and, we believe, transforming the way that the advertising industry connects with audiences. To appreciate the significance of this statement – and why RNTS Media has such a significant part to play – it is worth taking a step back to put our business in context.

The mobile ad tech industry has rapidly emerged to solve the technical challenges associated with commercialising the mobile digital economy that has been evolving since the first iPhone in 2007. RNTS Media has been building – since its acquisition of Fyber in late 2014 – in developing innovative technology platforms that bring together the buyers and sellers of digital advertising space to solve the fundamental challenge of monetising free digital content in the global mobile app economy. Last year alone 2 million apps were launched across the two major app stores, and the global app economy is predicted to be worth more than $140 billion by the end of this year. Not bad for an economy which didn’t exist before 2007.

We’re pursuing a focused strategy of growth by investing in organic expansion and selectively acquiring the technologies and evolving ad formats that will enable us to realize our long-term vision of becoming the leading business-to-business supply side platform for mobile advertising. This process started with the acquisition of Fyber in 2014 and has continued with acquisition of Falk Realtime, to strengthen our programmatic capabilities, in 2015. Since then, we have continued to invest in enhancing our technology, the suite of products and growing the scale and reach of the platform.

During the summer of 2015, we raised €100 Million to help us accelerate our M&A activity. Since then, we’ve acquired Heyzap in January 2016 and announced a definitive agreement to acquire Inneractive earlier this month.

By assembling and combining leading technologies and platforms, we are creating a compelling commercial proposition for app developers and advertisers alike, all with the long-term objective of becoming the leading independent marketplace for monetizing digital content through the power of advertising.

Does RNTS Media intend to only focus on mobile advertising or do you plan to build out a full ad tech stack?

Our focus is on building a leading business-to-business advertising technology platform that fuels the global mobile app economy. To fully realise that vision, we need to offer a full ad tech stack, which is why we’re focused on delivering best-in-class solutions that meet the needs of all of our clients — whether they are app developers or the advertisers buying their inventory.

We’re currently one of the largest independent mobile supply-side platforms globally, with one of the most advanced product offerings covering mediation, exchange and ad serving, and offering all ad formats.

The latest enhancement just announced by Fyber is a new ad server that differs from others in the marketplace by offering dynamic inventory allocation across direct, programmatic and mediated networks without the need to integrate a new SDK. This goes beyond the waterfall-solution of traditional ad servers and enables our clients to run campaigns across all sources of demand to identify the highest bidder and deliver maximum revenue. While our technology team has been working on many topics, one continuous area of investment has been yield optimization to drive highest revenues to our partners. With the addition of Fyber’s new ad server, along with our strong mediation and programmatic exchange, we can now offer one open platform for mobile developers and publishers to access all revenue sources.

In the past many have complained about both ad tech investment and the M&A opportunities in Europe. In your opinion, is that still true today?

That’s a difficult one to answer because ‘ad tech’ can mean very different things to different people, and the industry is in many ways still very fragmented and nascent, both in terms of the participants and the long-term growth opportunity.  That said, if you consider the strong, structural growth drivers that we see supporting the mobile economy — the proliferation of smartphone use globally, the growth in time spent on mobile compared with traditional mediums, the growth projections associated with the rebalancing of advertising budgets to effectively target those audiences — then we believe that the investment case for our space, the mobile app economy of the future, is sound.

Furthermore, we believe that our supply side platform is fundamental to fuelling the mobile app ecosystem economy.  If you think about ad tech investment in these terms — investing in the technologies, processes and marketplaces that collectively define how and why the mobile app industry can make money, then we believe investors who share this understanding will have no complaints.  If you are creating a truly innovative solution that is a game-changer for the industry, then investors will want to support and fund your innovations.

The ad tech industry is also undergoing an industry-wide consolidation for these very reasons. The M&A opportunities are not exclusive to companies in the United States or Europe. The appetite for ad tech investment tends to be more prominent in the US. However, there are several prominent ad tech companies such as Criteo and Opera who originated from Europe.

Walled gardens like Google and Facebook make up a huge percentage of mobile advertising spend. How can competitors hope to make up the lost ground?

These companies have been incredibly successful in creating and monetizing the mobile ad economy, but they are also examples of businesses which typically ‘own and operate’ a large proportion of the audiences within their ecosystems.  The business proposition and technology platform offered by RNTS Media doesn’t rely on any pre-existing scale or number of participants to justify its commercial appeal, although we are already world-class in terms of the audience reach.

Instead we take an open, agnostic approach to ad monetization, looking at the world through the lens of publishers and what’s best for them. Fyber’s supply side platform provides our publishing clients with a window to any inventory buying source, whether it be via programmatic, managed or self-serve demand from ad networks, demand-side platforms, or ad exchanges. Our algorithms optimize yield across our Ad Server, Exchange, and Mediation, aiming to fill every ad impression with the highest paying advertiser, regardless of source. And our publisher toolkits offer flexible controls to override any automatic settings or auction processes if desired, to ensure that our monetization solutions are fully customisable to suit our clients’ strategies.

We offer choice, transparency and flexibility through our platform and auction processes which, in our view, are a compelling alternative to the owned and operated market environment.  In fact, we like to think of our offering as a level playing field, rather than a walled garden.

If you could solve one problem in the mobile advertising ecosystem, what would it be and why?

The problem at the heart of the mobile advertising ecosystem is the one we’re committed to fixing: how can I make my content commercially viable?  The mobile ecosystem offers the potential to connect all of us, but from a publisher’s perspective, how can you put a price on the value for your content when your audiences are reluctant to pay for access?  Advertising is the answer, but the fragmented nature of audiences and demand make it just as difficult to value digital advertising space. Marketplaces for the buying and selling of ad inventory are the solution — the bigger, deeper, more liquid the better. RNTS Media is addressing this challenge by connecting publishers and app developers with all relevant demand sources, and the network effects that we create are in turn helping to shape the long term potential for the entire ecosystem.


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