Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Mobile Ad Targeter Tapad Raises $6.5 Million, Valued at $140 Million

Are TraasdahlWeb marketers routinely use “retargeting” to track users as they head from site to site, and serve them up different ads depending on where they’ve been.

But that’s hard to do on phones and tablets — especially Apple’s iOS devices — which is one of the reasons there’s a big mobile ad gap. And it’s one of the reasons there are several startups that claim they can handle “cross-platform” ads.

Here’s one of them: Tapad, a two-year-old company founded by Are Traasdahl, who’s best known as the guy behind Thumbplay, the company that enjoyed a brief but lucrative run selling ringtones a few years ago.

Tapad is notable as much for its pitch as its backers, who include a who’s who of New York City-based ad tech angels, including former DoubleClick CEO David Rosenblatt and AppNexus founder Brian O’Kelley, who pitched in on a $1.8 million round in 2011.

Now they’re back, along with venture firms FirstMark Capital and Avalon Ventures, in a $6.5 million round. Publicly traded Firsthand Technology Value Fund provided the new money for the round, which I’m told values Tapad at more than $140 million.

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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