Mobile ad startup Vungle says it’s hit a $300M revenue run rate

Adtech startups like to announce when they’ve hit $100 million in annualized revenue, but Vungle — which focuses on delivering in-app video ads — is doing a bit better than that. It says it’s now reached a $300 million revenue run rate.

And while the last three months of the year tend to be the biggest quarter for advertising, CEO Zain Jaffer noted that Vungle’s announcement is based on January’s (gross) revenue — in fact, he predicted that the startup will bring in more revenue during the first quarter of 2017 than in Q4 2016.

“I think we’re in that one sector of advertising technology that is continuing to explode,” Jaffer said.

Specifically, he said mobile advertisers are increasingly focused on performance. That doesn’t just mean clicks or even app installs — Jaffer said “the most profound shift” for Vungle has been getting access to post-install data, so it can measure whether its ads bring in users who actually open an app and spend money.

Competitor AppLovin recently sold a majority stake to a Chinese private equity firm for $1.4 billion, something Jaffer said “validates the space overall.”

“It’s time for analysts to wake up and realize what really drives mobile revenues,” he added. “People are so obsessed with this idea that TV dollars are moving to mobile, but it’s not just a format problem. There’s a business model problem here” — something that’s being solved as companies like Vungle can “literally prove what the user does.”

I also brought up Facebook and Google’s current dominance in online ad spending — are they just going to take bigger and bigger pieces of the pie? Jaffer responded that Vungle takes “all competition seriously,” but he argued that it’s differentiated by a focus on delivering “high-value users” to advertisers.

“If you’re that focused, I think you have the chance to be the industry leader,” he said.

Apparently Vungle has seen major growth in the Asia-Pacific region, with revenue up 400 percent since 2015. The company also says it’s now used in 40,000 mobile apps. And it just released a report on mobile ad trends.