Industry's Sad Google Dependency; A DPO Love Letter; And Look Who's Back
This is the FirstPartyCapital weekly newsletter. It covers news and updates about the FirstPartyCapital fund and its portfolio companies.
Why FirstPartyCapital Is Looking Beyond Third Party Cookies & Google
A ridiculous eleventh hour attempt by Axel Springer to prevent Google deprecating third party cookie use in Chrome again highlighted the industry’s dependency on the big G.
It’s difficult to articulate the absurdity of this Axel Springer strategy. But I will try. Essentially, it’s a German company (keeping in mind, Germany is very hot on privacy) request to the EU to prevent Google putting in place basic privacy functionality in its Chrome browser.
Axel Springer argues that it’s a massive conflict of interest given Google runs the largest third party ad stack in the industry - and that this move will give it a competitive advantage. This is a reductive position. This core premise fell apart the day Google got its hands on DoubleClick.
Also, the majority of Axel Springer’s traffic is coming from browsers that have already removed 3rd party cookies - Safari and Mozilla.
You cannot tell platforms to roll back user privacy updates because it fails to fit an antiquated economic model. It’s a bad look for any privacy-friendly legislator. We think it’s time Axel Springer - and the industry at large - moved on.
At FirstPartyCapital we are looking beyond the third party cookie and “scalable” id. The id graph, “topics” or government intervention will not save this industry. Time to start innovating. We have a number of companies in our portfolio that are building for this new privacy-first future - and we are always happy to introduce interested parties. Privacy FTW.
A love letter to the DPO
BusinessInsider ran a profile piece this week on 16 startups active in the “privacy tech” space. Some had merit to be on the list; others definitely did not.
The companies covered a wide spectrum of functions but none seem to have any focus on the Data Protection Officer, arguably the most important privacy stakeholder in the business.
DPOs are the policy and legal wonks that keep organisations on the right side of the law. Their importance keeps growing as we move into the privacy-first era. With the legal and platform requirements increasing by the week, the DPO role becomes critical.
At FirstPartyCapital, we care about the humble DPO. So much so we invested in the ultimate DPO workflow company, WULT.
WULT is a platform that enables customers to audit data use across their business, ensuring compliance with privacy legislation in different jurisdictions and giving businesses a holistic view of their data privacy infrastructure.
The company will be launching its own DPO-focused newsletter in a few weeks, focusing on news and updates aimed specifically at the professionals in this sector. Keep an eye for that.
WULT is also testing its beta platform with a number of publishers and ad tech vendors, and will be pushing out its software to the wider market from March.
Privacy tech is primarily focused on media execution, data activation/segmentation, and even IP protection. Companies like WULT have a different focus: they are building specific capabilities for DPO’s, making their day-to-day workload a little easier.
These are exciting times for anyone involved in data privacy operations - for both the tech vendors and the smart specialists working at the privacy coal face.
And finally… Guess Who’s Back. Back Again.
There’s an old saying in this industry: ‘once you are in ad tech, you can never leave”. And so it was that we saw the return of Brian O’Kelley to ad tech this week.
Having realised that blockchain will never optimise the teamsters operating the major US ports, O’Kelley has returned to ad tech with - yes - an ESG product.
As outlined in last week’s newsletter edition, the carbon footprint of this industry is, to say it mildly, out of control. O’Kelley is looking to build a platform that reduces energy use in the industry by benchmarking a vendor’s carbon footprint - a sort of IAS for ESG. We also hear he is trying to rebuild the RTB protocol to make it “more green”.
FirstPartyCapital is investing in startups that are addressing this big problem - notably Cavai - so we applaud the efforts of O’Kelley’s new startup.
Welcome back, Brian.
Deals Live On The FirstPartyCapital Platform
Evorra: The perfect application of “clean room” technology to a real world problem, moving a $200 billion data market into the privacy-first era …
Passendo: The leading category tech vendor in the email ad server space that just raised a pre-series A €2.3 million round …
The FirstPartyCapital fund: A $15 million fund investing in the next wave of innovative ad tech, martech and digital media startups, predominantly at the seed stage…
Open Roles At FPC Portfolio Companies
Passendo, Advertising Sales Manager, UK - https://apply.workable.com/passendo/j/7A99F8C481/
Passendo, Advertising Sales Manager, US - https://apply.workable.com/passendo/j/2B5EE89B87/