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Kargo eyes connected TV and video tech for future acquisitions

Kerry Flynn
Aug 15, 2022
Photo illustration of Harry Kargman, CEO of Kargo.
Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: courtesy of Kargo

As more brands master mobile, New York-based online ad exchange Kargo has pursued acquisitions to expand its capabilities within and beyond the platform, CEO Harry Kargman tells Axios.

Why it matters: Kargo has acquired four companies since 2020 (not including informally acqui-hiring Uber's Routematch team) and has eyes on connected TV and other video tech businesses.

  • "I haven't made a CTV announcement yet," Kargman says when asked about future deals. "I think what we're doing with video is super interesting, and that's gonna have a major impact to the business."

State of play: These acquisitions have stemmed from Kargo's customers asking for "diversified, cross-screen scaled players" as they try to reduce their number of vendors, Kargman says.

  • August 2020: Rhombus, New York-based social embed ad tech
  • October 2021: StitcherAds, social commerce ad platform, based in Waterford, Ireland, with a large presence in Austin, Texas. (Kargo has about 50 engineers in Waterford after bringing on Uber's Routematch team of 15, too.)
  • March 2022: Parsec Media, New York-based platform for selling media using attention metrics
  • August 2022: Ziggeo, New York-based online video player

By the numbers: Kargo turns 20 in January. It has about 400 employees, up from 220 in January 2021. The majority of that growth comes from the acquisitions — in particular, 135 employees from StitcherAds.

  • Kargo has not disclosed the price of individual acquisitions, except $64 million for StitcherAds. Adweek reported all four deals cost $75 million in cash and equity upfront, which does not include Ziggeo's full price based on performance.
  • Kargman says he evaluates his company's success based on net revenue, which surpassed $100 million last year. That figure grew 45% from 2020 to 2021 and is on track to grow 40% from 2021 to 2022.
  • But Kargo also has a goal of reaching $1 billion of total media pumped through its systems within the next couple of years, Kargman says.

Of note: Kargman told the Wall Street Journal last year about potential plans to go public "over the next few years." But there's no updated timeline.

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