Bill Demas, the CEO of demand-side platform (DSP) Turn, is leaving the company amid suggestions that the ad-tech firm has run into financial problems.
A senior ad-tech industry source told Business Insider that Turn has run into “cash issues,” which led to Demas’ departure.
A Turn spokeswoman confirmed that Demas will step down as the CEO of the company, once a successor has been named.
“This was a mutual decision between him and the Board, and is happening in a coordinated, planned matter over a period of several months. A search is underway and we’ll announce more details once a successor is appointed,” the spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement.
Our source also suggested that Turn had recently been shut off from Microsoft Advertising for not paying its bills and that the company had been “quietly laying people off.”
When asked about the company’s supposed financial issues, a Turn spokeswoman responded: “Turn raised $US80 million in funding last year, continues to invest in future growth, and is also actively recruiting. Turn also continues to work with all its partners including Microsoft Advertising, to provide its customers with the widest choice of inventory and data partners.”
Turn’s senior vice president of marketing Paul Alfieri did not hint at any financial difficulties when he told AdAge: “Bill built a profitable and sustainable company. And we’re growing, end of story.”
Turn raised $US80 million in a funding round led by asset management company BlackRock in January last year at a valuation of around $US650 million. But Turn is still not profitable “despite successes selling into agency and marketer organisations,” a source familar with the company told AdExchanger.
Since last year, much within the ad-tech industry has changed: After a series of high-profile ad-tech IPOs between 2013 and 2014, there has been just one since. And companies including Fiksu and Rocket Fuel have recently announced layoffs.
A separate ad-tech industry source told Business Insider: “Turn looks to be in trouble. They raised too much cash, have no window for an exit, and they have zero-visibility in this space. They have late stage funding from some pretty aggressive private equity firms who are running out of patience. This is the start of an ad-tech shake-out. There are very few suitors and no IPO opportunities in sight. And worst of all, most of them are not profitable after years and years of building out this model.”
Turn seems to have come a rapid way down from just last year when it raised its big funding round and was ranked as the fourth “hottest pre-IPO ad-tech company” by Business Insider. It was pegged to generate $US500 million in revenues this year.
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