Last week, OpenX Software announced a $22.5 million round of funding. New investor Samsung led the round, which brought OpenX’s total venture funding to date to more than $70 million. RTM Daily spoke with OpenX Chief Revenue Officer Jason Fairchild about the funding to see what the company had planned.
OpenX Market, OpenX’s RTB exchange, was launched in 2009. Fairchild says: “We saw the power of it immediately. We are firm believers in RTB, and not just how it exists today.” He said that OpenX believed that automated trading would be the future of media, and said, “it really has been the catalyst for our growth in every respect.”
Since launching its RTB exchange in 2009, OpenX has been a leader in the real-time media world. Fairchild says: “We were the very first RTB exchange. At that time it was client-side.”
So, for a company that has been a leader of the RTB pack for a number of years, it makes sense to want to know what they have planned next. So how does OpenX plan to use that $22.5 million?
The answer can be found between the lines of the deal with Samsung, a mobile company with an international platform. Fairchild says: “[We will be] looking at companies in the mobile category that are doing innovative things. [And] accelerating across the board, but specifically accelerating in international.”
The partnership with Samsung opens up major opportunities for OpenX’s exchange in the mobile space. “Samsung was the first huge private exchange that inserted an automated trading platform into a major mobile platform,” Fairchild said. “Any time you have an audience that big (Samsung), that will drive ad opportunities.”
In focusing on mobile, OpenX has another chance to lead in the real-time media space. The mobile RTB code hasn’t been entirely cracked yet for a variety of reasons, namely the different targeting technologies and the lack of cookies. And while Fairchild says it won’t happen overnight, he believes that mobile targeting will evolve “in a positive way.”
Since landing international partnerships with Dentsu-cci in Japan and Orange-France Telecom in Europe in recent years, OpenX has strengthened their international presence, especially in Japan. “It’s great to see a whole economy growing in Japan around RTB,” says Fairchild. He says that Japan is “hungry” for RTB, and OpenX wants to be in the center of that feeding frenzy. “They are seeing the trends in the U.S. and Europe and they are moving quickly.”
For the real-time media space in general, Fairchild says that the key question is figuring out how to get RTB more involved with the typical media plan. The key, he says, to getting RTB closer to 30% of the media plan rather than its current 10%, is to reposition RTB to a premium solution rather than just a remnant solution.
“Our belief, firmly, is there is no reason that automated [trading] shouldn’t move upstream to be the dominant way that all media is traded,” said Fairchild.