Eyeview becomes the latest ad tech casualty
Eyeview, a 13-year-old video-focused ad tech company that raised $80 million in investment, is shutting down after running out of cash.
The company’s roughly 100 employees were informed of the news last week and the business will cease operations by the end of the year. All the company’s staff is being let go. Eyeview chairman Greg Coleman, a media veteran who also serves as Lerer Hippeau’s entrepreneur in residence and sits on a number of other boards, confirmed the news to Digiday. He said staff will be paid their salaries, severance and any commissions and bonuses earned.
Eyeview, a performance ad specialist that offered brand marketers such as P&G and Honda targeted video ads, becomes the latest in a growing list of recent ad tech casualties. Business Insider reported on the downfall of 16-year-old IgnitionOne, which was sold in a fire sale to Publicis Media and Zeta Global last month. In March, Sizmek filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy and later sold its digital ad marketplace to Zeta for $36 million and its ad server business to Amazon for $30 million. Videology filed for chapter 11 last year and was acquired by Amobee for $117 million.
The environment for ad tech is tougher than ever, with venture capitalists cooling on investments, alongside Google and Facebook’s domination of the digital ad business — and a raft of browser-level and governmental clampdowns on user tracking.
Coleman said Eyeview became distracted a couple of years ago in trying to divert its attention away from its core competency as a digital video performance advertising player by “trying to be one of the big programmatic [advertising] players.”
In September, Eyeview brought in new CEO Rob Deichert, an ad tech veteran from Criteo and Rubicon Project, to take over from co-founder Oren Harnevo. Deichart was not available for comment in time for publication.
Investors had ran out of patience. The company last raised $20 million equity and debt financing in July 2018, bringing its total funding to $78.1 million. Coleman said the company’s investors also put in extra money earlier this year, but he declined to say how much.
“We went to the marketplace and talked to VCs but nobody in the VC world is investing in ad tech — it’s really quiet,” Coleman said. “We had a bunch of really interesting conversations with strategic partners but the runway was too short to do proper due diligence.”
The wind down hadn’t been expected, according to Coleman.
“I would not have hired Rob [Deichart] if I knew we were going to run out of money — I thought that we would be able to raise either through our existing group of investors, or through a VC, or strategic [investor],” he said, adding that outside appetite for the company’s employees and assets is high.
It’s unclear whether Eyeview will declare bankruptcy. “I don’t think we are calling it Chapter 11,” Coleman said.
Sources familiar with the company said Eyeview ultimately was an expensive business to operate. One of its main features — customized video creative and measurement — requires expensive coders and data analysts. Plus, Eyeview was competing for performance ad budgets that tend to go to Google and Facebook’s self-service buying platforms.
“Truly being ‘software as a service’ and not ‘service as a service’ is really hard,” the industry source said. “90% of companies that describe themselves as SaaS really have the operating economics of service as a service in an industry where coding is expensive and competition is ferocious.”
Another industry source said: “Eyeview was a simple case of continuing to operate a network media business at a substantial loss in an environment that demands profitability. That’s two strikes.”
Video: WTF is Apple’s privacy update?
Digiday senior reporter Tim Peterson breaks down Apple's new privacy update.
Online music videos get official age ratings in UK, the US could be next
Online music videos will now receive age ratings in the same way films do in the U.K. as part of a government-led pilot. The Department of Culture Media and Sport has brought together U.K. record labels, Sony, Universal and Warner Music, along with platforms YouTube and Vevo, ratings body BBFC and record label trade body BPI to crack down on the amount of unsuitable music content seen by children online.
Content marketers share their biggest mistakes and failures
At the Digiday Content Marketing Summit, in Half Moon Bay, California, this week, we asked the cream of the content marketing crop what to share their biggest mistakes. Hasbro's Tina Walsh likened a failed call for user-generated content to "throwing a party and no one comes." Sonic's Sarah Beddoe cautioned against jumping on the latest social platform just because it feels like everyone else is there.
SponsoredVideo advertisers are turning to format innovation to push beyond interruptive experiences
In a new video, experts from GumGum, The Martin Agency and Pinterest discuss the future of video advertising — and outline their vision for how video ads can be less disruptive.
Throwback Thursday: Nike ads just did it
The words "Nike" and "advertising" are as likely to evoke super-star athletes -- from Michael Jordan to Tiger Woods -- as they are inspirational paeans to striving and sweating. But a look back at classic Nike ads this throwback Thursday reveals a few surprises. "Just do it," one of the all-time classic slogans, is as core to the Nike brand as the shoe itself. But the tag, created by Wieden+Kennedy co-founder Dan Wieden, didn't hit the air until 1988. Featuring a real-life octogenarian marathoner, the spot was completely celeb-free.
Video: The media elite’s best commencement speeches of 2015
It’s pomp and circumstance season when college graduates are ushered into the future with advice from those who have “made it.” So we’ve rounded together commencement speeches of major players in the media industry from journalist stalwarts like Katie Couric and Tom Brokaw to social media mavens like Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and Adam Bain from Twitter. Watch our video and be inspired like the class of 2015.