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An Interview with Rajeev Goel

Co-Founder and CEO at PubMatic

PubMatic offers premium publishers a real-time selling platform for managing their revenues and brand strategy. Rajeev Goel is responsible for PubMatic’s business strategy and revenue growth.

Prior to working at PubMatic, Goel co-founded Chipshot.com, an online retailer of custom-built golf equipment, where he served as the vice president of technology, leading product management and development. Before he embarked on entrepreneurial ventures, Goel was a principal at Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, an IT strategy consulting firm for Fortune 2000 clients, and was a product marketing executive at SAP.

What is PubMatic’s mission?

Rajeev Goel: PubMatic’s mission is to enable premium publishers to realize the full potential of their digital assets. Publishers manage and sell their digital media inventory to their best customers, new buyers and everyone in between with our sales platform. PubMatic aims to make media buying and selling more efficient using the power of real-time bidding (RTB), audience data management, robust business rules, granular controls and market-leading mobile capabilities.

Led by a diverse team of veterans and innovators in the advertising, publishing and mobile industries, PubMatic’s technology solutions are complemented by our human API, which is based on our belief in consultative advice for every partner. We’re a privately held company backed by funding from leading venture partners, and we have offices around the world in the US, Europe and Asia.

What are your top business priorities?

Goel: Our top priority right now is to continue our rapid growth. Deloitte named us the third-fastest-growing company in the US internet sector in 2012. By the end of Q1 2014, we’ll hire over 100 new employees, increasing our global workforce to more than 450. We’re also expanding into four new offices—London, New York, Sydney, and a global headquarters in Redwood City, California. Another element of this growth includes a multimillion dollar investment in three new data centers located in Amsterdam, New York and Silicon Valley. In total, we will have invested over $10 million in infrastructure in 2013.

Apart from growth, in September we announced the launch of PubConnect, a new solution suite that we believe will radically change the publisher-to-publisher dynamic. Publishers are constantly looking for ways to expand their market share and audience reach. They are looking for practical solutions to manage and expand their inventory scale. PubConnect enables publishers to expand their inventory with consortium partnerships, establish a branded network or exchange, or buy additional media using their proprietary audience insights.

In addition, we are laser-focused on helping our customers use the technology solutions we’re known for. We created a new consultative service to support these solutions. As our technology solutions become more strategic, publishers are beginning to require a range of support. This is the case for everything from organizational structure, to revenue channel strategies, to real-time pricing and packaging methodologies. Our new platform solutions team is dedicated to helping our customers become more successful using PubMatic.

What are some of the biggest challenges in the ad tech industry?

Goel: This is a very exciting time for the ad tech industry. A recent study we commissioned found that publishers using PubMatic’s platform saw a three-year, risk-adjusted 338% return on investment, and evidence suggests that moving from RTB to solutions like our Private Marketplace offering increases that growth rate even more.

As an industry, the major challenge is finding a solution that works across all platforms and is consistent with consumers’ multiscreen lifestyles. With the reliance we’ve had on third-party cookies coming to an end, we’re actively solving that problem for our publisher partners and the companies that buy from our customers. We’ve announced partnerships with groups like AdTruth and TRUSTe, and we will continue to innovate to solve for a cookie-less and device-agnostic media ecosystem.

What are the biggest hurdles for RTB, and how is PubMatic confronting them?

Goel: The biggest hurdle is getting past RTB as a separate sales channel. RTB is an easier way to target unique audiences as a buyer, but it’s not that different in concept from traditional media buying. Marketers have always wanted to find audiences and use media and content as a proxy for those audiences while delivering strong brand associations. The execution with RTB is certainly different, and our platform and the platforms we work with make that execution extremely efficient and hyperfocused. We built an expansive set of capabilities to make the sale of media via RTB part of a direct sales strategy.

I believe that over the next two to three years, the industry will transition away from legacy ad-serving platforms that were built before the concept of audiences or RTB existed. With this new paradigm for buying and selling media, we must move toward a paradigm with an RTB and audience-enabled ad server that seamlessly blends nonguaranteed delivery with guaranteed delivery. Within this structure, the need for unified optimization, that is, delivering audience-driven advertising across multiple sales channels from one platform, signals the future of our industry.

How have you and your clients benefited from eMarketer?

Goel: eMarketer has been an invaluable resource for us, as we are constantly looking to stay up-to-date on industry projections in all of the markets we operate in. It helps us help our clients with anticipating market directions, as well as with evaluating their priorities and strategies on shifting and changing trends and behaviors. Compared with other research sources, eMarketer has a more robust stack of reports and a great suite of global information. The charts, graphs and data provided can be integrated into our company’s produced content with unparalleled ease.

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Rajeev Goel

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“Compared with other research sources, eMarketer has a more robust stack of reports and a great suite of global information. The charts, graphs and data provided can be integrated into our company’s produced content with unparalleled ease.”

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