App Video Ad Firm Vungle Hires Microsoft, Facebook Vets

In-app video ad platform Vungle has brought on a trio of veterans from companies including Microsoft, Facebook and Disney to help the start-up ramp up growth in 2014.
Vungle allows mobile apps and brands to run 15-second promotional videos within apps in its network of more than 3,000 titles. It boasts an in-house production capability for creating HD-quality videos within a few days meant to serve as high-impact trailers for games and other apps.
To serve as vice president, product management, Vungle has hired Arvind Gupta, most recently principal group program manager in Microsoft’s Online Services division. In that role, he oversaw business intelligence and billing product for the tech giant’s display ad business. Previously, he led the development of paid search advertising on mobile devices at Yahoo.
Joining him at Vungle is Andrea Sharfin as vice president of marketing. At Disney Interactive, where she was product marketing manager, Sharfin led marketing for free online games site Before that, she was product marketing manager of platform and APIs at Facebook, where she launched the social network’s Preferred Marketing Developer Program.
The start-up also named Stan Kazmierczak as CFO. He previously held the same position at Digital Link and VINA Technologies, helping to guide both companies to initial public offerings. Kazmierczak was also CFO at Speedera Networks when the company was sold to Akamai in 2005.
“Arvind, Andrea and Stan have proven track records that will significantly enhance our go-to-market efforts and help shape the next phase of our growth as a company,” said Vungle co-founder and CEO Zain Jaffer, in announcing the management moves.
Vungle, which received $2 million in seed funding last year (and another $6.5 million in 2013) from backers including Google Ventures and AOL Ventures, counts BottleRocket Apps, Zeptolab (maker of “Cut the Rope”), Sega and HalfBrick (“Fruit Ninja”) among its developer partners. Many of the participating publishers also advertise in each other’s apps.
Overall, the Vungle network claims an audience of over 80 million unique visitors each month. Another way to think of it: 200 people see a Vungle ad each second. Besides game developers, well-known consumers brands that have promoted their apps through the company’s platform include Expedia, and eBay.
Vungle didn’t provide specifics on video ad pricing, but said it offers a variety of ways to sell including on a CPM, cost-per-click, cost-per-action, and cost-per-video view.
Along with its offices in San Francisco and London, Vungle is expanding internationally to Berlin. In the coming year, the company plans to increase headcount to about 100 employees overall across departments.
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