Converge-Digital seeks up to €500,000 to focus on ad-buying tech

Advertising firm is part of group that includes Digitize, Vroom Digital and Medialink

Converge-Digitalis now targeting a trading volume of 5 billion ads a month across the Irish, UK and international markets, says chief operating officer Ian Maxwell

Converge-Digitalis now targeting a trading volume of 5 billion ads a month across the Irish, UK and international markets, says chief operating officer Ian Maxwell

 

Irish advertising company Converge-Digital is seeking up to €500,000 in a funding round as it targets ambitious growth in the programmatic ad-buying market.

Dublin-based Converge-Digital has launched an employment incentive and investment scheme to support the development of its proprietary platform for the programmatic – or automated – trading of advertising.

Converge-Digital, part of a group of advertising companies that also includes Digitize, Vroom Digital and Medialink, already trades hundreds of millions of ads every month on the platform, which is in beta.

It is now targeting a trading volume of 5 billion ads a month across the Irish, UK and international markets, said chief operating officer Ian Maxwell. “It’s a very exciting space to be in, and we don’t believe any other indigenous Irish company is doing this,” he said.

The company, which employs seven people, hopes to reach a headcount of 50 under a five-year expansion plan that will see it compete for business with big players like Google.

Digitize has invested €400,000 in the designing and building of the software platform over the past two years, while Enterprise Ireland has awarded the company €270,000 in funding.

The company already works with publishers such as Spotify, Channel 4’s on-demand service All 4, the Lad Bible and RT (Russia Today). It operates a data centre in Belgium and plans to open a second in the US east coast, while it also has outsourced developer teams in Moscow and Berlin. Its platform had a “soft launch” in March and began trading commercially in September.

Programmatic advertising, which is the purchase of online ads through automating software, accounts for about 40 per cent of total digital advertising spending.

Globally, programmatic trading, which speeds up the process of buying advertising and cuts out some of the human elements, is estimated by PwC to reach $72 billion in 2016. “It’s going like a hockey stick at the moment,” Mr Maxwell said.

However, the business is “massively fragmented”, with multiple platforms on both the publisher side and the advertising client side.

“There’s a huge lack of transparency and clarity in the ecosystem at the moment,” he said. The Converge platform is more of “a centralised hub” and gives publishers more control, he added.