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Exclusive: Moloco expands its ad tech to streaming media

Feb 23, 2023
Photo illustration of Ikkjin Ahn next to abstract shapes and a 3D play button.

Moloco CEO Ikkjin Ahn. Photo illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: courtesy of Moloco

Ad tech firm Moloco has created a new platform to serve streaming media and OTT providers, CEO Ikkjin Ahn exclusively tells Axios.

Why it matters: After reaching a $1.5 billion valuation in 2021, Moloco has been eyeing a potential IPO. This new ad server expands Moloco's business, bringing in more revenue.

Driving the news: Ahn says the goal for its new monetization solution is to help streaming media companies become profitable and sustainable businesses. Customers include On Demand Korea, TimeTree and Tumblr.

  • "You still need to serve a brand advertiser, but you now need to have technology to provide value to a performance advertiser," Ahn says. "That needs a lot of data analysis and machine learning. That's what we are."

By the numbers: Moloco doubled its revenue to $200 million last year. Its revenue is fairly evenly divided among EMEA, the U.S. and APAC, Ahn says.

  • Moloco is profitable and has been for the past 11 consecutive quarters, the company said.
  • It has more than 500 employees, more than half of whom are machine learning, data science and software engineers.

Catch up quick: Based in Redwood City, California, Moloco has raised about $200 million. It announced $150 million in Series C funding led by Tiger Global Management in August 2021.

  • Ahn co-founded Moloco in 2013 after spending five and a half years at Google, where he was a machine-learning engineer for YouTube and then Android.
  • "From my perspective, ad monetization is the most effective to make OTT platforms profitable and sustainable. That was our goal for YouTube in 2008," Ahn says. "There's a huge market demand, almost a market necessity."

What's next: Ahn told TechCrunch in 2021 that the company was raising to "gear up for a potential IPO." The Korea Economic Daily reported last year Moloco was aiming for a 2023 IPO on the Nasdaq.

  • Ahn declined to confirm if an IPO was happening this year. "Moloco is on a very, very good trajectory," he says. "We watch the public market very closely."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say Ahn spent five and a half years at Google, not 15 years.

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