Applovin acquires SafeDK. An in depth interview with Yaniv Nizan.

With the recent news of Applovin acquiring SafeDK, we felt it was a good opportunity to interview SOOMLA’s CEO and Co-Founder, Yaniv Nizan.

When did you first learn about this deal? Were there any signs that this was formulating?

Nizan (middle) with SOOMLA Co-Founders Refael Dakar and Boris Spektor

“I first saw the official news when four people asked me what I thought about it” says Nizan smiling, “I then looked it up to learn more but couldn’t find many details. I knew that Applovin were shopping and there were also some indications from SafeDK’s side as well.”

What does AppLovin gain from the acquisition?

“I believe Applovin has two main motivations. The first one is purely financial as you can see them making all sorts of moves trying to diversify in preparation for an IPO. They do that as an ad-tech multiplier (revenue multiplier – the ratio of the valuation to the revenue that the company generates) is not that good and the more they can appear like a Gaming or SAAS company the better valuation they can get. The other reason why Applovin wants this technology is that they believe Apple and Google will start cracking down on apps with poor ad quality. Applovin has been very aggressive in pushing the MAX mediation to the market and this acquisition will allow them to offer something no other mediation in the market has been able to do.”

We still don’t know the financial terms of the deal, but from what you know, do you think that it was a smart move for SafeDK? Or should they have waited

“Usually deals with no published terms are on the lower end of the spectrum and I believe the annual revenue was around $1M give or take, so it’s hard to imagine Applovin paying more than $20M for it. I believe SafeDK were not able to fully monetize on their technology and Applovin’s value from the same technology will be higher so it was probably a good move fon the part of SafeDK.”

How does this deal affect the mobile industry? If at all.

“I’m assuming that Applovin will stop offering SafeDK as a standalone product as it has more value for them inside the MAX mediation. This leaves the market with no third party solution to measure ad quality and generally with less publisher focused ad measurement tools. This vacuum will most likely be filled over the next 12 months. I can imagine some of the other mediations trying to develop similar tools and I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear something from SOOMLA’s direction as well” Nizan grins.

Do you foresee any similar acquisitions happening in the future? If so, what type of merges can be game changing?

“I believe Adjust is one to keep an eye on. They raised $227M and they are chasing Appsflyer while at the same time some of the smaller attribution players have been able to get traction with a limited offering. They might just make a horizontal move to get more market share.”

Q1 2019 MONETIZATION BENCHMARKS

Ad networks seem to be going through an evolution process. Is this good or bad news for app developers and publishers?

“I believe most ad networks have not been evolving. The financial markets (and as a result, investors of all kinds) have been struggling to differentiate bad ad-tech from good ad-tech making it less attractive for investors. The result was that ad-tech was out of favor for nearly a decade despite being a huge industry. The evolution you are referring to is an attempt of the better ad-tech companies to show they are more tech than ads by diversifying and creating stickiness tools for publishers and advertisers. Most ad-networks don’t evolve because they are unable to.”

What part does SOOMLA play today in the mobile ad ecosystem and what part do you believe SOOMLA will play in the next few years?

“Our vision is always to be the unbiased third party ad measurement for the publisher’s side in mobile. And our mission is to give publishers in-app advertising insights. This hasn’t changed and will be our vision in the future. Obviously, that’s rather a broad vision, we started with Ad LTV and waterfall insights but we do identify ad quality as part of that broader vision.”

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