Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford
If there’s one thing that defines New York’s startup world right now it’s ad technology.Sure, New York has Foursquare, Tumblr, Gilt, and numerous other consumer facing tech startups, but those companies could be out in Silicon Valley. The ad tech industry is almost entirely based in New York City, or as it’s also known, Silicon Alley.
To celebrate the thriving industry, Darren Herman started an annual golf outing, the Silicon Alley Golf Invitational. We were invited to attend for the second year in a row, and once again it was a good time. (Click here for photos from the event )
The mood of all the attendees was pretty bubbly, but cautious. While a lot of new startups are forming, or about to be formed, some people of the people we talked to were wondering who was going to be buying new ad startups.
The consensus seems to be that Google is done buying ad tech for now. It picked up the last piece it really needs for its ad technology when it paid $400 million for Admeld. (It might need some video component, though.)
Yahoo is a mess, so no one is expecting it to buy anything. Microsoft has pretty much let AppNexus handle its ad technology. Facebook might be a buyer, but it’s not happening anytime soon.
Adobe was the company everyone expected to be a buyer. Two other companies that could be buyers: IBM and SAP. We were surprised, but apparently they want to offer more services to their clients around data.
Why the fixation on who’s buying? Because, plenty of companies out there are being built just to be sold.
One person in attendance who was new to the event said there was a feeling of “the emperor has no clothing” to some of the companies he was talking to. Another person in attendance said some of the companies were just raising round of funding after round of funding without a clear path to an exit. They’re not getting acquired, and there’s no chance of an IPO.
But those are some of the downers. As we said, for the most part it’s an exciting time in New York Ad tech. Companies like AppNexus and Collective are growing and on track to be really big independent companies.
This event in particular is illustrative. In its fifth year, it now has 144 people participating up from just 44 the year before.