The Seagull & Your Cannes Hot Takes; Anzu's Monster $48 Million Series B Round; The Big Mo
FPC took a one week break from weekly newsletter duties - mainly because of time constraints at our 5 day Cannes residency. The good news, readers, is that FPC is back in the saddle. Now, on with this week’s edition…
Cannes Hot Takes - Just For You
You are probably sick of reading everyone’s take on Cannes. And rightly so. FPC is unsure how anyone can think coherently after a week of rosé binge-drinking and an avalanche of industry content.
Luckily for you, the FPC team are immaculate note takers. Here we outline our Cannes hot takes:
Cannes was a huge success for FPC: We secured another $1 million in funding; our portfolio companies won a bunch of new business; and nearly 300 senior industry execs turned up to our drinks at Ma Nolan’s.
Cannes is the greatest networking event on the planet: FPC met some of the most important industry leaders last week. There is simply nowhere else where you get this level of seniority and decision-making in such a concentrated area for a full week. We will go bigger next year.
Privacy is too hard for Cannes: Privacy is enough to put you off your expensive wine-flight Cannes lunch. It’s a headache for most. That’s why you heard precious little about it at Cannes. Sustainability, yes. Privacy, no. That will change as more privacy stories hit the front page. Our industry is badly exposed. Thankfully we have enterprise solutions like Wult, managing supply chains and building real-time compliance infrastructure for buyers, sellers and the ad tech. Next year, it will be centre stage.
Attention is top of mind… for everyone: Everyone who reads this newsletter knows we are the ultimate attention bulls. The industry doesn’t just see it as the natural evolution of ad verification; increasingly it’s being used as a measurement layer, particularly for in-gaming advertising. Think about it right now: what options are there post-cookie? Contextual? Up to a point. IDs? Will play a part but NOT the panacea. Fingerprinting? Eh, no. Attention is going to be a key go-to for agencies and buyers when Google gut the cookie in less then 12 months time. And those vendors, like Lumen, with actual technology will prevail.
Retail/commerce media is going to be stellar but it’s a bit different: FPC maintains that the retail/commerce media segment will dwarf CTV. - mostly because of the inevitable disruption of trade budgets. Conversations with some of the leading lights in ad tech confirmed that gut feeling. The sweet spot is definitely not this offsite retargeting nonsense everyone is PR’ing. And it’s certainly not going to be non-endemic video ads served on RMNs (Retail Media Networks), promoting home insurance. FPC believes product listings will be the growth engine for the space and will be powered by a traditional programmatic supply chain. Exciting times ahead, indeed. Seat belts fastened.
Sustainability will lead to big overhaul in programmatic: You couldn’t move a 100 yards without stumbling into a sustainability panel or an expensive industry lunch/dinner. As with most things in ad tech, there are lots of ideas but few real solutions. Maybe we go all in on SPO, condensing the supply chain. FPC thinks tying financial incentives to sustainability targets is going to have a bigger influence than ad tech green chat. Will the first casualty be OpenRTB? Given programmatic’s ugly carbon footprint, will we have to overhaul the entire data-driven execution layer? Hard to predict. But something big is on the horizon. The good news is that FPC already has an investment strategy for this eventuality.
Seagulls love Cannes ad tech parties: The giant seagull that crash landed our network event at Ma Nolan’s provided the comedy event of the festival. The tetradactyl-sized gull careered into a table laden with free beer and rosé around 5.30pm. Thankfully, neither bird nor the ad tech revellers were harmed in the incident. You can never get enough of this bird-related comedy. Eric Cantona’s use of a bizarre seagull metaphor (see below) at a hastily organised press conference in the wake of his infamous kung-fu kick remains one of the greatest. FPC can safely say that the great CGC (Cannes Gull Crash) of ‘23 now ranks up there with King Eric’s fine effort.
What The Anzu Series B Round Means For In-Gaming & FPC LPs
Anzu announced a whopper $48 million series B round this week. The main goal of this raise: to “make” the in-gaming market, which despite the scaled audience has failed to attract meaningful marketing spend.
The list of investors in this round gives you an indication of the potential in this burgeoning category. And if anyone is going to win here it is likely to be Anzu.
The company will doubtless invest heavily in marketing and sales - hiring an army of IO sales people to ramp up revenue.
How does this benefit you? Here are the key things FPC LPs should be thinking about:
Has appetite returned for big ad tech deals? Perhaps but the funding environment remains difficult. It is taking longer to raise money. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: companies are becoming more capital efficient; and are looking to get to profitability quicker.
How do I, as a FPC LP, benefit from this deal? Well, in-game advertising doesn’t work without attention. And guess who Anzu’s go-to attention partner is? That’s right, Lumen. Winning.
Is in-gaming a hot area? In-gaming has audience scale but not spend scale. Can Anzu’s big raise help in getting agencies to put more budget into the category? Possibly. With this chunky Series B, Anzu is arguably best placed to make this happen.
The Big Mo: FPC Hits The $10 Million AUM Landmark
When FPC started building out this fund at the tail end of COVID, the team raised a lot of small cheques from smart industry insiders. It was very much incremental, but we did manage to fund a clutch of top-class ad tech and martech startups.
Fast forward 24 months and it feels like the wind is very much in our sail. We are currently managing over $10 million AUM (assets under management) between the fund and syndicate.
It’s an important milestone, and yet again reminds the FPC partners of our raison d'etre: find great ad tech/ martech startups; fund them; scale them; and make LPs money.
Strategics are increasingly looking to put capital to work with FPC (PR to come out about all that later in the summer).
By the final close of the fund 1, FPC will have $15-$20 million AUM. That’s the goal. We want to thank all out LPs for believing in the potential.
And on that emotional note, I will leave it there. Have a great weekend, readers.