Startup Adjust Raises $227 Million In Bet On Mobile Ad Growth


Adjust, a Berlin startup specializing in audience measurement and fraud prevention in mobile advertising, said on Wednesday it had raised $227 million to invest in expanding its platform and growing in new markets.

The funding round, Germany’s second-largest this year after Berlin travel site GetYourGuide raised $484 million, was led by Eurazeo (PA:EURA) Growth, Highland Europe, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) Alternative Investment Partners and Sofina.

Mobile advertising is expanding rapidly as more people surf the internet, consume news and play games on their smartphones, with eMarketer forecasting that it will hit $232 billion this year – more than a third of total spending on ads worldwide.

That is attracting fraudsters who seek to manipulate audience numbers with ‘fake’ clicks, causing marketers to spend money on ads that don’t attract eyeballs. Automated ‘bots’ are also penetrating online games, interfering with in-app purchases or turning off players by beating them, Adjust’s co-founder and CEO Christian Henschel told Reuters.

“Unfortunately with any fast-growing market, there are bad actors trying to profit,” Henschel said in an interview. Adjust, founded in 2012, provides a subscription service for marketers to analyze audience behavior. It also offers fraud prevention and cyber-security solutions for more than 25,000 mobile apps worldwide.

POWER BOOST… The company describes itself as the leader in its industry, where it competes with rivals Appsflyer and Branch, and counts NBCUniversal, Zynga, Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) and Procter & Gamble among its customers.

It declined to share its financials or give a total valuation, saying it had been profitable for the last four years and increased its headcount by 150 to 350 over the last 12 months.

Henschel said Adjust would invest proceeds of this round – equivalent to nearly 10 times all its earlier funding – in broadening its Software as a Service (Saas) offering and extending its geographical coverage.

“We thought: Now we have the engine under control, why don’t we give it more power?” said Henschel. One growth focus is China and Southeast Asia, which now account for 30% of sales, compared to 40% in Europe and 30% in the United States.

Adjust will also look at further acquisitions, said Henschel, after it bought, a U.S. data aggregation platform that helps simplify routine tasks, and Unbotify, an Israeli cyber-security and artificial intelligence specialist that spots and tackles in-app bot fraud.

5 Startup Mistakes Every Small Business Person Should Avoid

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5 startup mistakes every small business person should avoid. Unless you are a serial entrepreneur, you are bound to make mistakes when you start a business (and even they make a few.) Some mistakes are minor and become part of the trial-and-error new entrepreneur learning process. Other mistakes can cripple your new business. But which is which?

Top 5 startup mistakes to avoid:

1. Underestimating startup costs. There is nothing worse for a startup than beginning a new business and not having enough money to make a go of it. When you start a business, you put a lot on the line: Your name, reputation, money, other people’s money (probably), your family’s future . . . and that’s just for starters. So you have to give yourself the best chance possible of making a legitimate go of it.

You do that by budgeting enough money. That means first of all, having at least six months worth of family income in the bank before opening the doors (giving you a bit of time to get started, get a few customers, invoice, and get paid). It also means having operating capital for the business and budgeting enough for marketing.

2. Failing to have a marketing strategy. Starting a new business is like being alone in a dark room – you know you are there, but no one else does. The only way to turn on the light and tell the world (including potential customers) that your business is open is by advertising and marketing. And then advertising and marketing some more.

So come up with a marketing plan before you ever get close to opening the doors. How are you going to let people know you are out there? What will your offline, online, social media and other marketing strategy be? There are no shortages of good ideas out there and it is your job to learn what they are, make a plan, and try some out. And then try some more.

3. Blowing your dough. If you are starting a business, it is likely that you have some money ready to spend. Either you got a loan from the bank, or you sold some assets, or whatever. But whatever it is, you likely have some money that you will be spending on rent, inventory, computers, etc.

Nurture your capital. Make it last. Be frugal. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is take that bundle of money and spend it unwisely. It is going to take a while before profit starts to roll in, so keep your overhead low and take it easy.

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4. Choosing wrong. There are few times in life when you can start a new business from scratch, so make it count. You need to choose a business that you will love, that you have passion for, and one which can make you some money.

5. Going it alone. Sure, you may have a one-person business, but even then you should not be doing it all alone. You need a team of people with whom to share ideas. Maybe you need a part-time assistant to keep you organized. Consider also creating a board of advisers who can help you with advice, contacts, feedback, and more. You need a team on your side committed to your success.

Yes, mistakes will be made, but they need not be crippling ones.

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