Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Another Ad Network? Yes, and This One’s for iPhone Apps: Medialets Raises $4 Million.

medialets-logoApple iPhone and iPod Touch users have downloaded one billion apps for their devices in nine months. Someone other than Steve Jobs and co. ought to be able to make money from that, right?

That’s more or less the logic behind Medialets, a start-up that serves up ads on Apple’s (AAPL) mobile applications, and to a lesser degree, programs designed for Google’s (GOOG) Android mobile platform. The New York-based company, founded last June, is announcing a $4 million Series A round led by Foundry Group. DFJ Gotham and angel investor Bobby Yazdani also participated.

Medialets also provides free analytics services for mobile applications. But its revenue comes from its mobile ad platform, which specializes in serving up iPhone and Android app users.

Given that mobile ads in general are in their infancy, this is a nascent market at best. Medialets CEO Eric Litman figures that the market for mobile display ads tops out at perhaps $300 million, and that ads for iPhone and Android apps can’t be more than $100 million.

But he figures that number will shoot up rapidly, of course, and perhaps hit $400 million within four years. He’s also betting that the majority of apps, and the majority of apps downloaded, will be free, advertising-supported ones.

In order for that to happen, both apps and the ads that run on them will have to move past the novelty stage. This Medialets-produced ad for Dockers, shown here running on SGN’s iBowl game, is sort of interesting. But it seems more like a proof of concept than anything else.

Still, it’s a start:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik