Verve to focus on US growth as it plans closure of European offices ahead of GDPR

Verve's cessation of EU operations comes ahead of the implementation of GDPR on May 25

Verve is to close its European and international operations in preference of an Americas-focused strategy, with the decision partially linked to the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The decision to shutter its European operations, confirmed to The Drum, was initially revealed late last week and is understood to affect somewhere in the region of 15 roles across its offices in the UK and Germany. Verve's existing international leadership based in its London office will remain on board for a short while in order to wind down its operations in the region.

The decision by Verve, which offers services in the mobile advertising sector, to significantly downsize its operations in the EU ahead of the introduction of GDPR is the latest in a series of moves by players that operate in this space, with Drawbridge arguably the most high profile casualty on-record to date.

Ian James, Verve, international general manager, told The Drum that the realities of a post-GDPR, from May 25 onwards, wasn’t the only motivation for the company shuttering its operations in Europe.

“It wasn’t the only thing who the world was different for Verve, but it’s a big contributor,” he said. “Verve’s board decided that where the business needs to focus as a strategic realignment is the United States.”

James went on to state that the EU market post-GDPR, which requires more explicit consent from consumers to process and handle their data, was “a contributory factor” as it is now “challenging to have to operate any data-driven adtech business in a highly legislated market”.

Verve’s levels of GDPR compliance in terms of obtaining user consent over the use of location data was one of the most lauded in the market, according to James.

He went on to add: “Looking at the investment required going forward [in a market like Europe] you have to make a judgement call as to whether that’s best spent in Europe, or best spent in the core market of the United States, and that’s a call the Verve board has made.”

Verve will now concentrate on its business across the Americas region, focusing on location-based programmatic video and creative executions for mobile, with the latest decision coming within a year of a similar “rightsizing” exercise the US that saw 10% of the company's headcount exit.

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