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Snowflake acquires stake in OpenAP

Oct 17, 2022
Illustration of an upwards trending line graph pushing off a smart tv screen

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Data cloud company Snowflake has acquired a 5% stake in ad tech company OpenAP.

Why it matters: The deal is expected to boost future acquisitions or partnerships for OpenAP, and is the company's first investment from a non-publisher.

Of note: "We've been a profitable company since our inception. We're not in a situation where we need a round," CEO David Levy tells Axios. "But I think there are strategic opportunities for us to do some innovative deals from an M&A perspective at some point."

  • Financial terms were not disclosed.

Catch up quick: OpenAP helps major TV networks and advertisers use audience data for targeting and measuring ad campaigns.

  • Publisher partners include founding members Fox Corp. and Paramount, later investors NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. Discovery as well as Disney, AMC Networks and others.
  • In January, Discovery Inc. (now WBD) acquired a 10% stake in OpenAP. At the time, NBCUniversal, Fox Corp. and Paramount had evenly split the remaining shares in OpenAP as 30% owners, according to people familiar with the matter.

Details: OpenAP and Snowflake began working together earlier this year to create a so-called clean room, a privacy-conscious technology where publishers can store and share data.

  • "It wasn't necessarily an easy decision to let any non-television publisher in from an equity perspective," Levy says. "I think it shows the level of importance that clean room technology has as it relates to advanced advertising moving forward."

By the numbers: Over its last fiscal year (which ended last month), OpenAP managed $500 million of advertising through its platform. Levy says the company expects to grow that to $1 billion over its current fiscal year.

  • OpenAP works with more than 100 advertisers.
  • The company doubled its headcount over the past year to just over 20 employees and is currently hiring.

The bottom line: "We're looking for ... the best and most efficient way for us to transition this industry from the siloed way that we're buying today to get television on par with how easy and sophisticated it is to buy [on] Facebook or Google," Levy says.

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