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Inside Mobile Apps Nov 8, 2012
Inside Mobile Apps

LifeStreet Media pays developers more than $125 million in ad revenues

Advertising technology company LifeStreet Media today announced its mobile advertising revenue is growing at an annualized rate in excess of 250 percent, and that to date it has has paid out more than $125 million in ad revenues to publishers and developers. LifeStreet also reported that it has driven 275 million app installs for its advertising customers.

Founded in 2005, the San Carlos-based company is one of the biggest in-app advertising services on Facebook, counting Zynga, Big Fish Games and Classmates among its clients.

In May, the company announced it raised $66 million in new funding from Nautic Ventures in order to help it continue its mobile expansion plans.

Inside Mobile Apps spoke with LifeStreet Media founder and CEO Mitchell Weisman earlier this week to talk about the company's extremely successful expansion into mobile.

Inside Mobile Apps: LifeStreet came out of stealth when it announced it had received $66 million from Nautic. Can you reveal how much money the company has raised in total?

LifeStreet Media founder and CEO Mitchell Weisman: Previous investment rounds totaled $3.6 million, and frankly we became profitable with less than $2 million. In fact, this fiscal year marks our sixth consecutive year of profit growth.

IMA: Can you reveal what percentage of your business comes from Facebook, and what percentage comes from mobile? Are you seeing more business on iOS or Android?

Weisman: Both our Facebook business and our mobile business continue to grow significantly; however, mobile is growing at a faster rate.

Within the mobile channel, so far iOS has been growing most rapidly, but we've recently seen more and more momentum with Android.

IMA: The last set of numbers you released said 160 million unique mobile users and 200 million app downloads to date. Now you're up to 350 million social and mobile users and 275 million app downloads. Can you reveal how many mobile users your platform is reaching now?

Weisman: We don't break down customers by channel. However, I can say that in fiscal 2012 Facebook conversions grew 48 percent year-over-year, and over the last six months mobile conversions grew by over 130 percent.

IMA: Can you share some insight as to how you've been able to grow so quickly on mobile? What is driving this level of growth?

Weisman: It all comes down to our RevJet revenue maximization platform and its underlying technology. It makes ad inventory more valuable in LifeStreet's hands. RevJet is as effective in the mobile channel as it has been on Facebook.

It should also be noted, of course, that the mobile display advertising market is growing rapidly. According to Juniper Research, in-app advertising spend across all mobile devices will reach $7.1 billion by 2015, up from $2.4 billion in 2012. We chose to apply RevJet to the mobile market because the opportunity there is tremendous, but there are many markets within the online advertising ecosystem which could benefit from RevJet's capabilities, and we'll be entering some of those additional markets in the coming year.

IMA: There are literally hundreds of options for monetization and advertising. What sets LifeStreet apart from its rivals?

Weisman: RevJet allows us to conduct very high volume testing at extraordinarily high speed, allowing us to optimize revenue in ways others just can't match. That's why we're so different from so many other monetization solutions. [They're] basically just ad networks, or glorified matchmakers between advertisers and publishers who add no value in the middle. Using universal object serving technology, RevJet is able to optimize the many thousands of variables or "objects" that impact display advertising revenue. This includes everything from visual objects like text, images, colors, and layouts, to logical objects like campaigns, placements, and bid prices.

IMA: What are your thoughts on an IPO? Millennial had a successful debut (although it stock hasn't reached its IPO heights since), and LifeStreet is cash flow positive. In 2010 the company reported revenues of $40.7 million, and I imagine your business has only grown since then.

Weisman: These days people frequently ask us about a future IPO – and we'll consider this possibility in the future. But right now we're focused on growing our business by rolling out our RevJet platform to the channels that we believe will help the largest number of advertisers and publishers achieve their customer acquisition and monetization goals.

Photo credit: Spencer Brown/San Francisco Business Times.