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Jeff Green, The Great Soothsayer Of Ad Tech; Amy Williams Talks Sustainability; Watching That Launches AI Product And Raising New Pre-Series A Round
This is the FirstPartyCapital weekly newsletter. It covers news and updates about the FirstPartyCapital fund and its portfolio companies.
Sustainability. Sustainability. Sustainability.
Our portfolio company, Good-Loop, was featured on the AdExchanger podcast this week. Its CEO Amy Williams speaks about the carbon footprint of programmatic advertising. The amount of power required to do all that id matching is very much on the agenda of big brands.
Programmatic advertising has an ESG image problem. But Amy talks about how things are changing in the industry. Technology is now available (ahem, Good-Loop) that helps reduce the power required to execute a programmatic campaign
But beware of the greenwashing grand standing that is starting to creep into company marketing through the industry. And be doubly aware of those “Road To Damascus” types who seem to have developed a conscious around the state of the world. There is always an agenda.
Amy talks about all this and more in the podcast.
It’s a great conversation. Amy is a passionate and motivated CEO who actually genuinely cares about social responsibility. So much so, she built a company with that focus.
Watching That Shipping New Product - And Raising New Round
Watching That was one of our first investments. Watching That is a proper utility ad tech company, building solutions that publishers, CTV operators and broadcasters need to run their ad monetisation platforms.
It released its Monitoring Module offering this week. The solution is focused on automating ad inventory performance tracking, speeding up response time to any issues and ensuring continuous peak ad performance:
Users have the freedom to either deploy Watching That’s Smart Monitors, using anomaly detection algorithms, or manually set their own thresholds, based on their specific requirements, to trigger the alerts. The module enables rev ops teams to set up Monitors based on which specific metrics are a priority for their campaign needs and generate automatic alerts via email or Slack. The user-defined Monitors are automated using machine learning (ML) algorithms to augment stretched teams and provide peace of mind in the always-on environment of streaming today. It delivers broader awareness and protects revenue by reducing delays in solving any performance issues. It does this by lessening the need for time-consuming daily manual checks across a range of platforms and spreadsheets, ensuring that ad ops teams will be alerted whether they are at their desks or not.
Watching That is now hitting a significant revenue milestone, and has onboarded some of the biggest global broadcasters and streaming platforms. The growth opportunity for the company is significant.
To help with the next stage of development, Watching That is now doing a new pre-Series A round. The deal is now live on the FirstPartyCapital angel syndicate platform:
If you have not yet signed up to be part of our angel investment syndicate, fill in this form to start accessing our deal flow: share-eu1.hsforms.com/1ol4kzk-5rxkyclytlnja4gf7q0l.
Jeff Green: The Great Soothsayer Of Ad Tech
The Trade Desk announced its Q1 earnings this week, delivering $315 million in revenue - a 43% y-o-y increase. Jeff is the greatest ad tech operator this industry has ever known.
He has built the gold standard company in ad tech. But where his true talent lies is in predicting the ad tech future. Below are some of the predictions from the “great ad tech seer” that have come to pass:
The inevitable rise of The Trade Desk: When FirstPartyCapital met Jeff Green for the first time in the early 10s, The Trade Desk was well behind its peers in terms of market share. It was well down the pecking order in terms of DSP adoption. But Jeff kept telling FPC that the game was only starting, and that the opportunity for the company was “insanely huge”. Through a combination of savvy positioning and wold class product development - as well as some missteps from his competitive set - Jeff and co built a well-oiled ad tech behemoth that now burns brightly in the ad tech sky.
Ad tech can go public and have healthy valuations: Before TTD’s successful rise as a public company, ad tech was a running joke on Wall Street. Its laughable reputation as a public market segment wasn’t helped by the spectacular implosion of the likes of RocketFuel - another top tip from that - AHEM - stock market guru, Jim Cramer. Jeff told everyone that ad tech could have successful public listings. Everyone scoffed. But being the diligent and savvy operator that he is, Jeff went off to talk to everyone on Wall Street to not only understand the mindset of his potential investors but also address the concerns they had about our industry. After his fact-finding mission, the man even hosted an event in California to share his finding with other industry executives. I believe this informed Jeff’s strategy of how best to “manage” Wall Street’s expectations. This helped to shape the narrative that has propelled The Trade Desk to a twenty billion dollar plus valuation. That’s why he’s paid $835 million per year.
Ads are coming to Netflix: Despite all the aggressive naysayers, FPC always believed that Jef was right on this one. He maintained advertising was and ever will be an intrinsic part of content monetisation. For a long time, it looked we were in the minority on the ad-funded Netflix model. The “advertising is for the poor” narrative was in vogue. But then economic realities started to have an effect. As Harold Macmillan once said: 'events, dear boy, events'. Inflationary pressures and sub saturation are changing monetisation strategy of the biggest streaming platforms. Disney announced an ad-funded model is coming. And after an awful quarter, the biggest ad holdout of them all, Netflix, capitulated: it too will look to launch an ad-funded model. And guess who will be powering that? FPC will bet its lunch money that it will be TTD.
Jeff has the uncanny ability to map out what’s going to happen next in our industry. So, when he makes another “outlandish” prediction be sure not to dismiss it too quickly - and instead position yourself to take advantage.
Have a great weekend, readers.