UK mobile ad tech specialist Byyd files for administration

Byyd, a pioneer in the UK ad tech sector, has filed for administration and is understood to be looking for a buyer, The Drum has learned.

An official public notice of the appointment of administrators dates the proceedings to Friday last week (22 April). The Drum made a number of attempts to call the Byyd's main switchboard, none of which were returned, while emails requesting further comment and clarification remained unanswered at the time of publication.

It remains unclear if Byyd, one of the earliest companies to pursue opportunities posed by the mobile advertising sector, will wind up proceedings should it fail to find a buyer.

Senior management are understood to have briefed staff on the situation last week when they claimed they were confident of finding a buyer, according to sources contacted by The Drum.

Several sources contacted independently of one another by The Drum confirmed that they had heard similar reports in the last week, including one that claimed that issues around sourcing additional funding had prompted the move.

Byyd, which offers a host of mobile media solutions first formed in 2008, and was known as Adfonic until its rebrand in early 2014, when it evolved from the earlier mobile ad network model (from circa 2012) and started to offer buyers a mobile demand-side platform (DSP) dubbed Madison, among other services.

Originally founded in 2008 by a number of ad tech executives, including Paul Childs (who is now chief revenue officer of Smadex after leaving the company some years back), Victor Malachard (who served as chief executive until December last year) took on more than $8m in equity funding, according to its Crunchbase profile, and was listed as having between 51-200 employees globally on LinkedIn.

Byyd arguably reached the height of its success in 2014 with the announcement that Weve (the mobile advertising outfit then backed by the UK’s three-largest telecoms providers) was to make its audience insights available to advertisers via Madison.

The mobile DSP space is a notoriously difficult one to operate within. Earlier this year Facebook revealed that it had shelved its much-anticipated plan to launch a DSP out of its measurement and ad server unit Atlas.

The Drum spoke with multiple industry sources about Facebook's decision to stall any DSP plans with one source, speaking upon condition of anonymity, explaining that this niche sector is a difficult one to operate in.

“The problem with being a DSP is that you effectively provide credit to the industry. You book deals with agencies, then your suppliers come knocking on the door wanting paid, and it’s months later before agencies pay you,” said the source.

Speaking to The Drum on the competitive nature of the mobile advertising space, Ciaran O'Kane, founder of ExchangeWire, said: "Mobile is still a very different space from desktop, and there will continue to be a need for mobile specialist outfits.

"As for Byyd, what's happened to them is very sad, but sometimes with venture-backed businesses this just happens, there wouldn't be any risk involved if there wasn't. Sometimes you run out of road, and it takes a lot of money to run an ad tech company."

As for the future of Byyd and its some 200 employees globally, it remains unclear if redundancies will be made as a result of the process.

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