Rubicon Adds Two Key Hires, Takes Aim At Rivals

Ad technology firm The Rubicon Project on Monday announced two key hires in Ben Trenda as vice president of U.S. Demand, and Eric Matza as director of product marketing.

Formerly VP of global partnerships at AOL, Trenda is tasked with growing relationships with ad networks, and other third-party sales channel partners. Meanwhile, Matza -- former vice president of product management at email services provider Experian -- will be responsible for bringing ad technology and data products to market.

Taking direct aim at Google's DoubleClick ad platform, The Rubicon Project recently hired Allen & Company to help finance expansion and possible acquisitions. The company also issued a "manifesto," in which it criticized the current leaders in the ad-server technology market [read: DoubleClick] for failing to measure up to its own "publisher-centric" standards.

Falling in line, Trenda took the opportunity on Monday to hammer home the idea. "The company does not sell directly to advertisers, so unlike other players in the digital advertising marketplace it doesn't compete with its publisher clients or channel partners, and it doesn't black box deals -- all parties can safely and profitably get the transparency they want and need," he said.

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As vice president of global partnerships at AOL, Trenda worked on agency partnerships, global programs and Latin America. Prior to AOL, Trenda led a West Coast sales team at Advertising.com. He has also held roles in the Strategic Alliances group at Yahoo and before that, in sales at Overture and GoTo.

Prior to hiring Allen & Company, Rubicon raised an additional $13 million -- of a total $42 million -- in venture funding to fuel various growth initiatives, including strategic acquisitions, research and development, infrastructure and international expansion.

A growing number of startups are competing to help Web publishers better manage ad networks offering to sell their leftover ad impressions.

Apart from DoubleClick, rivals like Pubmatic and AdMeld factor in pricing data, available inventory, and publisher guidelines to determine which ad network is sent an ad impression -- work that a publisher's sales force would otherwise be required to perform.

In an effort to address the broader issue of data fragmentation, The Rubicon Project recently acquired behavioral targeting data provider Others Online. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

At Experian, Matza built technology platforms for display ad targeting, online lead enhancement and scoring, and Web site optimization for clients, partners, and Experian Interactive businesses in the U.S. and the UK.

Prior to Experian, Matza managed targeting infrastructure for display advertising and email marketing at Yahoo, and held marketing management roles at Q Interactive -- formerly CoolSavings -- and AdForce.

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