Toda!cell (www.todacell.com), an Israeli ad optimization platform, has raised an A round of $1 million led by Afterdox (see previous coverage on VC Cafe) the Fore Group and several other angels. AfterDox is a group of angel Investors comprised of former execs from the publically traded Israeli billing platform Amdocs (NYSE:DOX). The company had previously raised an undisclosed seed round, when it was founded in March 2007.
TodaCell’s platform matches premium mobile ad campaigns with users, based on territory, carrier, timing, user response, pricing and other parameters. The company is currently present in Israel and Tokyo and plans to expand to the US next.
VC Cafe had a chance to get some comments from CEO Moshe Vaknin, a serial entrepreneur in the media and online advertising business. Prior to TodaCell he foundedCheckM8, an ad yield management start up. He also served as the president and COO of Adwise during the tech bubble.
VC Cafe: The online advertising market is arguably saturated. What innovation does Toda bring to the table?
Moshe Vaknin: The online advertising is saturated. Toda is focusing on mobile advertising only. Our uniqueness is focusing only on off portal (unlike Amobee). The current off portal solution offer by companies like Admob, they do not answer and address advertiser need: high performance. Admob and others focus on Quantity, Mass, not quality as Toda does. With strong targeting engines and automatic optimization we are able to achieve very high ROI to advertisers. Unlike others, who care only about CTR (click through rate), we measure the efficiency to advertisers. Not enough how many people click, but how many people actually bought the product? How many did the right search? Accuracy in the ad deliver process is our power
VC Cafe: How do you plan to achieve scale with advertisers and publishers?
Moshe Vaknin:We work directly with major advertisers and also with mobile agencies who are looking to the off portal market as the big market and the important during the next few years.
VC Cafe: Who do you consider as your closest competitors?
Moshe Vaknin: The closer competitor I believe is Smaato as they are focusing on optimization too. We focus heavily.
VC Cafe:What impact does the economic downturn pose on your business model?
Moshe Vaknin:The economic downturn slows down new advertisers who plan to increase their budget going into mobile. However, our business model which is 100% performance gives confidence to advertisers that their money is spent the right way
VC Cafe: What does Toda bring to brand advertisers?
Moshe Vaknin: Toda brings brand advertisers 100% Transparency. Advertiser knows exactly where its ad positioned on the mobile page, which publisher, which category, which device, when, how frequent, no surprises for advertiser so they can plan their media accurately which is very important for brand advertisers.
VC Cafe: Looking back 18 months ago. Would you do anything differently?
Moshe Vaknin: If we look 18 months back, we will do the same. From day one we believed that mobile advertising is going off portal and not controlled by carriers. The introduction of iPhone and other smart phones just make the mobile browsing so easily, and we believe it is a beginning of new revolution.