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Dipanshu "D" Sharma

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A Letter from Our Founder & CEO: xAd Acquires WeatherBug

Posted by Dipanshu "D" Sharma on Nov 15, 2016 5:35:01 PM

WeatherBug by xAd

Dear Friends of xAd,

Today it’s with great excitement that I announce xAd’s acquisition of WeatherBug, an industry leading weather app with over 20 million unique users per month.

This acquisition was made possible by a recent series E funding, which allowed us to acquire WeatherBug’s top rated and comprehensive IoT weather data. By pairing our solution with their technology, xAd will expand its mobile panel – users who have opted-in to share their location data many times a day – to 50 million.  This richer data set will lead to the development of the most accurate audiences and measurement in the industry and in the future, the ability to not only capture behaviors but predict them.

To support the growth and increased scale of our business, I’ve appointed industry veteran, Serge Matta as President of Global Sales and Marketing. Serge is the former comScore CEO and lends decades of marketing and analytics industry expertise.

Again, we believe at xAd that location will be the next big digital category. Our acquisition of WeatherBug, as well as Serge’s addition to our growing team, solidifies our commitment to and market leadership in bringing the highest quality of real-time, location intelligent data to the market.

To learn more about the acquisition, click here.

All the best,

D
Founder & CEO

 

Topics: Industry, Location

A Letter from Our Founder & CEO: Introducing Marketplace Discovery

Posted by Dipanshu "D" Sharma on Jun 15, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Marketplace-Discovery-Email-Header.jpg

Dear Friends of xAd,

Today, planning your marketing strategies just got a little bit easier. It’s with great excitement that I share with you MarketPlace Discovery, the world’s first public, real-time location intelligence platform that provides actionable visual insights into foot traffic behaviors in the physical world.

MarketPlace Discovery takes store visitation insights to the next level, allowing you to better understand the factors influencing your own store visitation and those of your competitors. For example, take the recent promotional push around breakfast at top quick-serve restaurants. Through MarketPlace Discovery, you can easily see which brands are winning breakfast wars based on foot traffic—overall, over a specific period of time and even by geography. And this is just one of the functionalities of the platform.

 LAUNCH DISCOVERY

At xAd, our mission is to help bring marketers to a better place through location intelligence. With the vast majority of purchases still happening in physical stores, my team and I felt it was extremely important to address the challenges businesses face when trying to understand the relationship between online and offline activities. MarketPlace Discovery was built specifically for that purpose, giving marketers easy access to real-world visitation trends, and allowing them to see the true value of location intelligence for themselves.

MarketPlace Discovery is available right now, offering visitation trends for the retail and restaurant categories with additional categories coming soon! I encourage you to explore the platform and see the impact foot traffic can have on your marketing strategies.

All the best,

D
Founder & CEO  

 

Topics: Location, Company

10 Business Lessons I Learned After Two Years in China

Posted by Dipanshu "D" Sharma on Jun 6, 2016 6:18:04 PM

Shanghai.jpg

As China became the second largest economy in the world, it was natural for American companies, including my own, xAd, to be interested in owning a piece of the market in China.  With roughly 600M active smartphone users in China, almost 3 times that of North America, and companies such as Apple and General Motors reporting revenue growth there, it made sense for xAd, a mobile location intelligence platform to enter the market.

However, many investors cautioned us against investments in China citing reasons that often drew from unreliable media sources or other investors. At the end of the day, no one knew or understood what being in China meant. Despite resistance, I opted to move into the market in 2014 and after two years have compiled my top 10 business lessons for those interested in doing the same.

  1. China IS different, your global strategy will not work there – Most western companies fail in China, and this is often the reception when you launch there. From the Chinese standpoint, the odds are stacked against you and you have a high likelihood of failure. Those trying to help you will remind you often that China is DIFFERENT, and it’s best to believe them. Your global strategy playbook must be customized in China.
  2. Mobile devices have evolved faster in China – Smartphones are a central part of consumers’ lives in China, more so than North America or Europe. Users are frankly “smarter” with their phones – using them as a tool to enhance daily activities. In particular, mobile is a big part of commerce in China.  A large number of Chinese consumers use mobile payments to make purchases in store and online, which means big opportunities for marketers.
  3. Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (BAT) dominate the market – Unlike western companies like Google and Facebook that make acquisitions in their area of expertise and buy the whole company, BAT prefers to buy portions of companies along the value chain. For instance, many of the technology services you're familiar with in the US such as Uber, Seamless, or Groupon are either owned by or have investments from BAT. Most recently, Alibaba bought a part of Groupon in the US. This strategy has worked quite well for their businesses. However, it's been hard for investors in the west to value these companies due to their complexities. If you’re a business that’s considering entering the Chinese market, it’s important to figure out where your energy is best spent playing in this highly competitive market.
  4. China ad tech start-ups are on the rise – Most of the key leaders in those start-ups are from BAT, Google, and Yahoo. These companies have the technology, capital investment, and clients to succeed. They are very aggressive on revenue scale to go IPO and operate on low margins, which makes the market competition fierce. Most of these companies also have excess capital in China. Taking money out of the country is difficult, so money typically gets reinvested in innovation. Companies that focused on the Internet early on are now working on self-driving cars, drones, etc. With the exception of companies like Google, this is less frequent in the west.
  5. Forget Facebook, WeChat rules in apps – In such a mobile-focused society, it’s no surprise that “hero” apps, i.e. apps with over 100M monthly users is commonplace. To make it in China, an app must cross the 250M user number. One app that’s ruling the space is WeChat. WeChat is no ordinary app either – and it also happens to be owned by the T in BAT. With messaging, mobile payment, and branded channel opportunities, consider WeChat your number one tool in marketing your product or service to prospective clients.
  6. State-owned mobile operator, China Mobile, is paving the way for mobile surge in China – China Mobile, China’s largest mobile phone operator has been testing pre-5G connections, which could be more than 10 times faster than the current 4G connection. The central government has also said that state-owned mobile network service providers should target to increase speeds for mobile users. The technology and determination could set China’s mobile market growth at an even faster rate as mobile internet speeds improve.
  7. Piracy is embedded in Chinese markets, but signs show it is beginning to be countered – In China, piracy is commonly referred to as “Shanzhai,” which is related to the imitation and piracy of name brands. According to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Asia emerges as the largest source for counterfeit and piracy products with China as the single largest source in its economy.¹ However, there are signals that piracy is beginning to be countered in China. The Chinese government is taking action against pirates and following up with its commitment to a stronger regulation of copyrighting with a new Law for Protection of Rights and Interests of Consumers. I have faith that this market is going to be more mature and more respectful to copyrights and patents. Chinese companies listed in US Exchanges are better partners as they follow IP law.
  8. There’s an inventory war on mobile display – With ad fraud as a concern, premium mobile inventories in tier I and tier II publisher markets are the hottest battlefield. Big advertisers will leverage their negotiation to buy cheap mobile inventories in tier I and tier II markets as much as they can. Unlike the west, most hero apps have their own ad exchanges and there is no large third party exchange business.
  9. You’ve got to wait to get paid – Serving an ad is great, but getting paid commission post campaign is another thing. In China, collection cycles are typically six months or longer, so unlike North America, many sales representatives have to wait until revenue is booked to collect a commission. Furthermore, there are several government regulations on invoicing, which must be understood early on in the process.
  10. Hiring top talent is difficult, even more than the Bay area – If you’re looking to move to the tech space in China, expect to pay more for talent or miss out on key hires. Compensation for top talent is similar to the west. With a limited supply of personnel in this industry, those who are in the business can demand more.

1 source: OECD “The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy”

Topics: Industry, Company

A Letter from Our Founder & CEO: Announcing the Most Transformational Marketing Solution Since Search

Posted by Dipanshu "D" Sharma on Feb 23, 2016 4:00:00 PM

MarketPlace_Announcement_v2.jpg

Dear Friends of xAd,

Today we launched a groundbreaking new technology at Mobile World Congress—the first-ever self-service platform for the buying and selling of locations.

Called MarketPlace™, the platform will enable marketers to leverage the power of real-time consumer intent just like they can do today for search... but for the physical world. Users will be able to buy places like keywords, leveraging past trends and real-time behavioral data to make incredibly informed marketing decisions. It’s the first offering of its kind, and we think it’s going to change how brands think about mobile advertising. 

 DISCOVER MARKETPLACE

In xAd’s early days, we were focused on search. However, we quickly realized that our technology could help advertisers in an even more valuable way—to more efficiently and precisely target audiences based on their location. As our focus on location grew, so did our business. We quickly grew from a few people in a small shared office, to a global company headquartered at One World Trade Center. Our technology is now available in 10 countries, and we reach over 300 million unique users per month at nearly 100 million unique points of interest worldwide.

Though today’s announcement is a huge milestone, we know we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible in location. With the support of our clients and partners, we’re committed to continuing to innovate and will be making a number of additional announcements related to MarketPlace™ this year.

All the best,

D
Founder & CEO

Topics: Industry, Location, Events, Mobile, Company

成功を測る方法

Posted by Dipanshu "D" Sharma on Feb 26, 2015 9:19:10 AM

At xAd, we look at several factors to assess whether we are achieving our ambition to be the global leader in location. I’m beyond thrilled to report that xAd surpassed every benchmark we set last year.

  • 1 trillion mobile ads processed.
  • 300 billion ad impressions available monthly.
  • 300 million unique users reached monthly.
  • 30,000+ apps in our platform.
  • 1 million global advertisers.

We’re talking numbers so big that the human brain can’t really visualize quantities this large. So we created a website to help us comprehend what we were able to achieve in 2014. http://2014.xad.com/

Thanks to all of our employees, clients, partners, investors, and supporters for helping us exceed our ambitions. We’re just getting started. 

Screenshot_2015-02-26_09.16.24

Topics: Company

Expanding the xAd team

Posted by Dipanshu "D" Sharma on Feb 20, 2015 11:58:28 AM

From the start, xAd has been focused on three priorities: building a solid business for the long-term, inventing products that push the boundaries of mobile-location, and creating a great company culture founded in our entrepreneurial roots. This year, we expect to double our team again for the second year in a row, exceeding 300 employees by year-end. To achieve our ambitions, recruiting talented people with the right skills and cultural fit is a core focus.

As someone who has worked at large corporations and founded and invested in multiple companies, it’s especially important to me that we have a culture at xAd that entrepreneurs want to be part of. We want xAd to continue to be a place where people have autonomy to experiment and innovate, and the ability to make a major impact on a company, an industry, and a product.

Today, I’m excited to announce that xAd is adding mobile expertise from Nimbusbase, a two-year-old startup out of NYC that created an app storage solution for mobile users. The combination of strong technical skills and a passion for mobile will be a great fit at xAd to work on new projects. We have been impressed with what Nimbusbase built in a short time, and look forward to seeing what we can create together at xAd.

As we ramp up our global expansion even further, our focus will continue to be on creating a great company, team, and culture for the long-term with innovative, market-leading products.

Welcome to the xAd team!

-Dipanshu “D” Sharma, CEO of xAd

Topics: Company

Proven Mobile ROI is No Longer in Beta

Posted by Dipanshu "D" Sharma on Aug 15, 2013 11:00:00 AM

xAd Dipanshu Blog Headshot resized 600xAd, and location analytics partner Placed, joined forces earlier this year to develop a method of tracking mobile user interaction from ad impression to in-store visitation. The goal of course was to give our mobile advertisers the ability to prove the return on investment of their strategic, location-focused mobile planning. Today we’re happy to announce that xAd and Placed have achieved this important industry milestone with the introduction of Placed Attribution.

xAd is currently the only mobile ad platform employing Placed Attribution technology – doing so within our In-Store Traffic Lift (ITL) studies. xAd’s ITL allows national brands to reach a greater understanding of their mobile advertising impact “in the wild”, providing metrics such as lift by demographics, latency rate, and much more. ITL programs are currently underway with a handful of national brand advertisers and we are looking forward to reporting on the successes of these campaign studies in the very near future.

While other networks and platforms have promised similar metrics in the past, the technologies and methodology employed in the launch of Placed Attribution and xAd’s In-Store Traffic Lift are unmatched. Thanks to the breadth of location-accurate mobile data, and depth of mobile user behavioral insights leveraged by both xAd and Placed, our In-Store Traffic Lift studies are able to achieve a level of scale not currently available with any other mobile ad platform or technology provider.

If your brand is interested in joining fellow innovative mobile advertisers in the space with the implementation of an ITL study, I invite you to email [email protected] for more information on how this program can work with your mobile planning.  And we’ll continue to provide updates and insights as the ITL program continues and expands into 2014.

Topics: Industry, Culture