Most Berlin startups are looking to get acquired, but here’s one that’s doing the buying: Madvertise, which has just picked up Turkey’s top mobile advertising company Mobilike for an undisclosed sum.
Madvertise is already the leading mobile ad firm in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Globally, it’s certainly one of the smaller players in an industry dominated by Google (s GOOG) and Apple (s AAPL), but it’s looking to at least take over the European market — and the Mobilike buy is part of that plan.
Being Turkish, Mobilike will provide a “beachhead for the entire region,” Madvertise CEO Carsten Frien told me, the region in question being south-eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Although its headquarters are in Berlin, Madvertise already has sales satellites in London, Paris, Milan and Barcelona. According to Frien, the company aims to be European market leader by 2014 — right now, it’s just the biggest firm of that kind that’s headquartered in Europe.
Here’s a graph showing the combined reach of Madvertise and Mobilike, with the former accounting for around 1.7 billion page impressions a month and the latter somewhere north of 300 million:
Of course, buying other companies is only one way to expand. Beyond the tactical move of picking up Mobilike — which has 60 percent market share in Turkey — Madvertise also has another trick up its sleeve.
The company’s about to roll out a real-time bidding platform for mobile ads. This is a trend that’s already taking hold in the general online ad market due to its efficiency and targeting advantages, but that is yet to become dominant in the handset world. Mobclix is doing something similar, but Apple and Google are yet to follow suit.
We’re rolling out the first version in May and the second version in August,” Frien said. “It allows us to take Madvertise as a business into any region of the world. Yes, we’re going into the Middle East with our Turkey acquisition, but our global platform strategy allows us to tackle any market globally.”
Frien was also keen to talk up the engineering focus of his company. He pointed to the kind of regulatory interest that arguably caused Apple to stop using unique device identifiers (UDIDs) as a way of identifying users, noting that Madvertise “anticipated this move” and developed its own way of doing the same thing.
Madvertise’s system identifies the user by correlating around 40 parameters, including the handset model, the installed browser, the site being browsed or the app being used, the carrier and the user’s location.
“We’re doing very innovative stuff and obviously we’re only focused on mobile,” Frien said. “Google and Apple have more resources, but that doesn’t mean they always have the cutting edge across all their products.”