The AdTech industry has to be agile to keep up with constant tech updates, new devices, and platforms, and this provides plenty of opportunity for small, nimble companies to take the stage. But as our H1 2018 Equity Investment report has shown, the UK AdTech industry has seen its fourth consecutive half of declining deal numbers.
For the uninitiated, AdTech refers to digital tools and analytics used to inform advertising and marketing, it allows more targeted campaigns by delivering optimised content to the right demographic at the right time.
Venture capital seems to be shying away from this sector, despite the opportunity for innovation, allowing industry behemoths like Facebook and Google to continue market domination. Despite this downward trend, some AdTech companies are putting up a good fight.
Read about the five who have raised the most equity investment below, and check out our in-depth 2020 adtech update here.
Established in 2011, Blippar develops augmented reality (AR) and computer vision software for consumer goods manufacturers such as McDonalds, Coca Cola, and Nesquik. Within five years of inception they had secured almost £82m of investment and a pre-money valuation of £194m. But even with strong financial backing, Blippar’s last few years have been rather rocky.
Following several pivots, a damning report from Business Insider claimed that the company was “burning through cash” at an unsustainable rate, and this is indeed reflected in their financial statements. But more concerning is a decline in turnover from £8.48m in 2016 to just £5.7m in 2017.
Following office closures in Japan and Turkey, Blippar announced it would be closing its biggest office in Mountain View, California in May 2018, and will be continuing technical development from London and Bangalore.
With the aim of making Blippar profitable in the coming year, Candy Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures injected an additional £28.1m in the company earlier this month. Hopefully they can mark this decline as, for want of a better word, just a blip, and not the start of a bigger downward turn for the best financed AdTech company in the UK.
Founded in 2010 by four ex-Google employees, QuBit has developed web-based software for e-commerce companies to deliver targeted ads based on consumer web-browsing history. This technology puts emphasis on the personalisation of ads and allows clients to appeal to consumers based on multiple data points, reaching far beyond the traditional segmentations of gender and age range.
Backers include Accel, Goldman Sachs, Salesforce and Sapphire Ventures, and investments total £49.9m. QuBit have shown steady growth, and clients include Emirates, Net-a-porter and Thomas Cook.
Amplience is an on-demand platform enabling retailers to create and manage engaging and interactive content using behavioural, location and marketing-driven segmentation data. Amplience attended the ELITE accelerator in 2014, and has raised £48m to date.
Octopus Ventures was one of their first investors in 2011 and has supported them ever since, leading the latest round of £26.6m to expand their global presence, with participation from Columbia Lake Partners.
With the announcement of the round, founder and CEO James Brooke said “No other software vendor is able to provide the range of content production, management and delivery capabilities, from the cloud, that branded manufacturers and retailers need in order to compete in a mobile-first world.” Notable clients include Liberty London, Mulberry and Boohoo.
Ogury provides data on the behaviour of smartphone and tablet users, giving advertisers and app developers insights in to mobile usage, in-app and out.
With £32.5m of venture capital investment secured, from backers including CoVent Partners and Ventech, Ogury is the only top five UK AdTech company to be operating at a profit. In 2016 Ogury entered the US market with an office in New York, before expanding to Chicago and Los Angeles in 2017. This move proved fruitful for investors, with a doubling of turnover from £15m in 2016 to £33.8m in 2017.
Spunout from the University of Surrey, Mirriad allows advertisers to digitally insert brand imagery into existing content. This technology and method of integration means ads cannot be skipped or blocked, a problem which is limiting other players in the market. Mirriad has secured 12 rounds of fundraising totalling £32.1m, 8 Innovate UK grants worth £3.31m, and held a successful IPO in December 2017 for £25.4m on AIM. They are now operating across four continents with offices in Mumbai, New York, São Paulo and Shanghai, to bolster operations from their London HQ.
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