May 15th, 2018 marked the ten year anniversary of OpenX becoming incorporated in the U.S. This post is part of a series looking back at each of the ten years in the company’s history – Part 5 of 10
As OpenX entered 2012, the digital media landscape was continuing to evolve and change. The number of active smartphone users surpassed 1 billion for the first time, new devices were released to the market like the iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire, and digital advertising was growing around 15% year-over-year.
Consumers continued their rapid migration towards digital devices and the opportunity to help publishers monetize these growing audiences was greater than ever. At the beginning of the year, OpenX earned it’s first profitable quarter, and by the end of the year, the business surpassed $50M in net revenue.
A growing business also meant that there were more important decisions to make to solidify the future of the company. To start, would OpenX need to build more solutions to better support publishers? Did OpenX need to offer an SSP to support the publisher business so the company could not only work with them in the RTB marketplace, but also through more traditional ad networks?
This was counter to one of the original theories of the company – that ad networks were no longer needed and everything would soon be bought and sold with RTB. But, once again, the team at OpenX showed a willingness to evolve the company’s thinking.
Since the industry was slower to move away from ad networks than anticipated, in early 2012, the company bought LiftDNA, a business out of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania that ran an SSP. The plan was to integrate the technology into the existing OpenX tech stack.
The LiftDNA acquisition provided OpenX with superior SSP technology, later named Demand Fusion, that in part leveraged a prototype of a technology that enabled the insertion of OpenX bids into Google’s DFP ad server, for the first time enabling real time competition for DFP customers. This pioneering tech innovation would lay the groundwork for OpenX Bidder, the industry’s first header bidding product, and would once again revolutionize digital advertising.
At the same time, many key elements of the current OpenX business today began to fall into place in. The company moved into a large office space in Pasadena, that is still the headquarters today, and John Gentry joined the company as President. John Murphy also came to OpenX in 2012 to lead marketplace quality, a move that would lead to sweeping changes in 2013 and once again change the trajectory of the company.
”As OpenX entered 2012, the digital media landscape was continuing to evolve and change. The number of active smartphone users surpassed 1 billion for the first time, new devices were released to the market like the iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire, and digital advertising was growing around 15% year-over-year.