SINGAPORE, Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- PocketMath, the world's largest self-serve mobile advertising platform, announced today that it has raised US$10M from Rakuten Ventures. This is the largest first-round funding of any startup in Singapore and biggest single investment by Rakuten Ventures to date.
The Series A round will help PocketMath bolster talent acquisition, accelerate product development, and establish a deep strategic partnership with Rakuten. The Managing Partner of Rakuten Ventures, SaeMin Ahn, will join the company's board alongside the founders JD Lee, Eric Tucker and Casey Grooms.
PocketMath helps businesses buy advertising on mobile devices through the programmatic trading of ads, also known as real-time bidding (RTB). The platform filters through hundreds of thousands of opportunities per second to execute highly targeted marketing campaigns that connect advertisers to their ideal audiences worldwide.
The founders are close friends who met at the University of Texas at Austin where they ran a student organization that promoted technology entrepreneurship. The friendship grew into a partnership years later. PocketMath is collectively their eighth - and most successful - startup attempt.
Even with years of prior startup experience, the founders did not see success right away. PocketMath stumbled into mobile advertising only after experimenting with a variety of other ideas, including a foray into a facial recognition advertising service that was inspired by the Hollywood movie, "Minority Report".
By bringing together the three big things in tech today - mobile devices, programmatic advertising and data - PocketMath has demonstrated its success with 8-digit revenues and hundreds of customers evenly distributed across the globe, since the product was first launched in early 2013.
"PocketMath targets one of the most margin-rich, ad-tech segments for mobile", said SaeMin Ahn, Rakuten Ventures' Managing Partner. "This investment gives Rakuten a strong stake in the mobile advertising game, and we're excited to explore how PocketMath can play a role in growing the Rakuten Marketing ecosystem in the future."
PocketMath is doubling-down its efforts to show everyone how accessible advertising can be with the right tools. "Our vision is to take what we've built for the big brands and make it available to everyone," said JD Lee, co-founder and CEO of PocketMath. "People don't want to understand jargon, they want to see results."
"We got our start by making our platform dead simple for advertisers," said Casey Grooms, co-founder and CRO of PocketMath. "You can really see our clients' eyes pop when you click a few buttons and they get to see their ad, on their phone, just seconds later!"
PocketMath recently added Sales Directors in Mumbai, Sydney, and Washington D.C. to complement its existing sales presence in Singapore and San Francisco. However, its main recruitment efforts is still centred around its tech-heavy team of over 40 in its Singapore office where it has grown almost three-fold in the span of a year and continues to expand rapidly.
"Our team consists overwhelmingly of scientists and engineers," said Eric Tucker, co-founder and COO. "We've built up a lot of tech expertise so that our partners and clients don't have to. That sets us apart."
PocketMath is the world's largest self-serve platform for buying mobile advertising programmatically. Since its release in early 2013, the platform has achieved 8-digit revenues by helping hundreds of businesses around the world execute highly targeted marketing campaigns that connect them to their ideal audiences. It has a tech-heavy team of over 40 in its Singapore office and is rapidly expanding its global sales presence.
About Rakuten Ventures
Rakuten Ventures is an early stage corporate venture capital fund focused on empowering the startup ecosystem to positively affect Internet services globally. The fund was originally launched in 2013 and counts Carousell, Visenze, Coda Payments and Send Anywhere among its investment portfolio. In June 2014, Rakuten Ventures launched a US$100 million global fund to target startups and companies in Israel, Asia Pacific, and the USA, with a focus on companies that can enable better user experience and facilitation.
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About the Founders
JD Lee, co-founder and CEO, left Singapore at 16 to pursue his B.A. in Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. He was involved with a series of startups after he fulfilled his national service duty upon his return home. The tech team he established with his IT consultancy helped germinate PocketMath. JD was responsible for overall product development strategy and design at Streetwave when it received the President's Design Award in 2011 - Singapore's most prestigious design award. JD comes from a family of entrepreneurs who are behind Lee Metal Group Ltd (SGX:593).
Eric Tucker, co-founder and COO, began early in technology. By age 13 and prior to mainstream use of the web, Eric ran his own online community. He observed the untapped potential of information that the coming interconnected world would provide. While earning his B.S. in Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin he took semesters off to pursue goals including the analysis of news and new ways to cloud compute. For years, Eric explored and applied artificial intelligence, real-time systems and high performance computing through his business. Eric then played a crucial role in the creation of PocketMath's real-time bidding software. He now takes on a broader strategic role, remains involved in tech decisions, and can be found coding from time to time.
Casey Grooms, co-founder and CRO, followed a typical career path as a financial analyst with a major bank after completing his dual degree in Economics and Government at the University at Texas at Austin. Atypical is what he did after: Casey aggressively bootstrapped numerous startups with almost all his salary and spare time, bouncing from social networks to game design to fashion and even Twilight movie magnets! He has been the only driver of business development, sales and partnerships at PocketMath until very recently - flying and gathering business from anywhere and everywhere. Casey currently serves as the public face of PocketMath and can be seen regularly rubbing shoulders with the Who's Who of the industry.
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