Adtech engage:BDR – the brainchild of a former Myspace founder – will list on the ASX today after raising $10 million in an initial public offering.
engage:BDR (ASX:EN1) helps brands and advertising agencies bid for online advertising space automatically, whether on a website or social media platform.
The platform hopes to become a leader in the field of influencers, creating a marketplace for those looking to connect their products with online community leaders.
Los Angeles-based chief Ted Dhanik says the idea grew out of his previous foray, MySpace — the site that started the social media boom (see video below).
MySpace — briefly worth $US12 billion back in the dot com days — was bought by News Corp in 2005 for $US580 million. But it was overtaken by Facebook, sold to Justin Timberlake for $US35 million in 2011 and is now owned by Time Inc.
“There was always the concept of influencers in the early days [of MySpace] but we used to called them ‘tastemakers’,” Mr Dhanik told Stockhead.
“Bands were many of the first influencers for us and we quickly learnt how to leverage, work with and provide value to these people.”
MySpace Tom joins the ASX
Mr Dhanik’s brought along a familiar face as board member, MySpace’s Tom Anderson – known for his appearance on every MySpace user’s friend list.
Mr Dhanik now sees video ads as a key focus and has plans to become a global leader in the medium.
While his native US is pushing forward in mobile video, he says Australia has a bit of catching up to do.
“I think Australia is a couple of years behind. In the US mobile video is bigger than desktop video but there needs to be a behavioural change on the consumption side before that happens here,” he said.
“Amazon has changed the way people use their phone and it is only a matter of when the same will happen in Australia.”
EN1 raised $10 million at an offer price of 20c and will use the funds to further their growth across the Asia Pacific.
‘Targets we want to acquire here’
“We’re the first adtech to list internationally and we chose Australia because we’ve already done a lot here and there are targets we want to acquire here,” he said.
“We know that there is a growing influencer marketing sector here and while there are some companies on the influencer side we are a 9-year-old company that has done $170 million in revenue so we know what we are doing.”
While the question of influencer authenticity was recently brought into the headlines in the case of Belle Gibson’s fake cancer, EDBR have no interests in moderating content, calling it out as ‘scale prohibitive’ and instead leaving that to the brand or individual.
“The industry is going to be evolving in that area – there will be maturation so that there is accountability at every level.”
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