As the “You’ve Got Mail” era comes to a close with the $4.4B acquisition of AOL by Verizon, the fate of some of AOL’s acquired companies & associated technologies is uncertain. Conventional wisdom has suggested that this move is to strengthen Verizon’s reach into mobile/video advertising, but that only represents one aspect of AOL’s business and the businesses it has acquired.
Is VZ/AOL about: – content? nope. – subscription? nope. – search? nope. – site ads? nope. – ad tech? BINGO! pic.twitter.com/FkNllhb0cM
— Terence Kawaja (@tkawaja) May 12, 2015
The adtech/mobile theory is in-line with Verizon’s investment strategy, which shifted towards investing more heavily in both of these sectors. Prior to Q3 2011, Verizon Ventures investment into ad-tech was negligible, but from the second half of 2011 to the past quarter, ad tech has taken the second most funding as the heatmap from Investor Analytics highlights below. Some adtech companies that Verizon Ventures has invested in include RUN and AdTheorent, both of which are focused on mobile.
So what ad tech capabilities is Verizon picking up via its acquisition of AOL? Since 2008 AOL has acquired companies mostly in the Adtech/Marketing and Social spaces. Alongside acquisitions of video and content management startups, AOL has pulled together enough companies to make it a dominant player in the online ad market space (including mobile).
If the acquisition is based mostly on the mobile/video/adtech, then the biggest question is what will happen to the other services/startups that AOL has recently acquired. Social, AOL’s second biggest area of focus, which includes the acquisition of companies like Thing Labs and SocialThing (which joined other AOL teams), could provide Verizon with usable data to better target ads.
However, since Verizon has made it clear that it is not a “content company”, the content production startups that AOL has acquired are in a more precarious spot. This includes familiar names like TechCrunch, Huffington Post, and Engadget. While it’s unclear what Verizon/AOL plan to do with those entities, the mobile/video/adtech startups that AOL brings to Verizon will likely be of interest to Verizon.
|Vidible||Vidible is a cross-screen video management and exchange platform for buyers and sellers of digital media.|
|Convertro||Convertro provides advertisers and agencies valuable cross-channel analytics and actionable recommendations to attribute, optimize, monitor and adjust marketing strategies|
|Gravity||Gravity aims to personalize the internet. Through the company’s applications, Gravity understands people’s interests so that partners can create more relevant experiences for users.|
|Adap.TV||Adap.TV is an online video advertising platform that aims to allow publishers and advertisers to match relevant advertising with online video content to be able to target the customers in a better manner.|
|BuySight||Buysight is building an automated marketplace for performance display advertising.|
|GoViral||GoViral launches branded video content across its proprietary online publisher network with the aim of ensuring high brand engagement and maximum viral exposure to relevant demographics.|
|RallyUp||Rally Up is a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based mobile application startup offers a product called Rally Up, a location-based service that enables users to combine private micro blogging with location, allowing them to share text, photos and direct messages.|
|5min||5min is “how to” video site that features short-form videos from large media companies and independent producer.|
|Buy At||Buy.at is an UK online marketing network providing a range of brand name clients with high quality affiliate marketing solutions.|
Want to understand Verizon Ventures investments and AOL’s acquisition history? Sign up for our venture capital database below.
This report was created with data from CB Insights’ emerging technology insights platform, which offers clarity into emerging tech and new business strategies through tools like:
- Earnings Transcripts Search Engine & Analytics to get an information edge on competitors’ and incumbents’ strategies
- Patent Analytics to see where innovation is happening next
- Company Mosaic Scores to evaluate startup health, based on our National Science Foundation-backed algorithm
- Business Relationships to quickly see a company’s competitors, partners, and more
- Market Sizing Tools to visualize market growth and spot the next big opportunity