DoubleVerify Acquires AI Expert Leiki To Build A New Business Supporting Publishers

DoubleVerify has acquired Helsinki, Finland-based artificial intelligence expert Leiki in an all-cash-and-stock offer completed on December 27, 2018. The deal, announced Monday, gives the company a foothold to build a business to support publishers with a variety of technology.

Brand safety is one major focus. The technology can monitor even premium editorial content and prevent a programmatic ad from serving nearby, which might pose a challenge for advertisers.

DoubleVerify’s customers today are primarily brand advertisers, as well as companies that support media transactions through programmatic trading. The company supports publishers, but mainly with digital advertising campaigns running on publisher sites.

The acquisition -- announced Monday for an undisclosed sum -- is the first in a series of steps that DoubleVerify will make to support publishers, DoubleVerify CEO Wayne Gattinella told Digital News Daily.

The acquisition is the first step to build stronger support for publishers, he said.

“It’s a combination of this acquisition and other publisher-focused products being developed inside the company,” he said. “There are several initiatives within the company that are designed to develop and deliver a very powerful service to help publishers better compete.”

Gattinella, who previously was CEO at WebMD for 10 years, appreciates how difficult it is to compete as a stand-alone publisher. He said DoubleVerify will introduce ways to help digital publishers better compete.

The product should be released late in the second quarter of 2019.

Leiki uses artificial intelligence to analyze text in more than 40 languages, such as complex news articles or contextual video data. DoubleVerify can then use the translations to classify content and filter an advertiser’s bid on certain media placements.

In addition to adding new customers -- mostly publishers -- it also gives DoubleVerify a stronger foothold in Eastern Europe, the Nordics and Russian markets. 

Leiki CEO and Founder Petrus Pennanen will remain with DoubleVerify, playing a senior role in the development of new products. He will spearhead a specialized business unit in Helsinki, Finland, where the company is based.

Leiki’s technology also will be integrated into the DoubleVerify Content Analysis platform. Along with the intellectual property, DoubleVerify will also acquire the ability to work with “talented” Ontologists.

It has not been decided whether or not DoubleVerify will keep the Leiki brand name.

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