Former Dentsu advertising execs just raised $6 million for their startup to help publishers sell ads in the new privacy era

  • ArcSpan raised $6 million to help publishers make more money from their audience data and ad space.
  • Its investors include AperiamVentures and Moat cofounders Jonah Goodhart and Noah Goodhart.
  • ArcSpan bets it can beat competitors like Permutive with a more holistic offering.

A team of executives who built companies foundational in helping advertisers target ads at scale — and eventually sold them to companies like Dentsu Aegis and Adobe — have raised $6 million in seed to fund a new startup.

Instead of aiding advertisers, the new startup, called ArcSpan, is launching technology to help publishers maximize their revenue despite Google and Apple restricting the way online ads can target consumers.

Publisher-focused adtech is red-hot for investment right now — for instance, Permutive just netted $75 million from Softbank after winning clients like Insider and The Guardian. ArcSpan wants to differentiate from other publisher-focused adtech companies by combining multiple tools publishers use to make money into a single platform. For example, publishers might have to work with one vendor to manage audience monetization, and a different vendor to maximize revenue from affiliate marketing. ArcSpan intends to bring all of those capabilities together.

But right now, ArcSpan’s full offering is still in development and its active clients number only in the single digits. Today, it can help publishers make money off their audience data even if they sell out of ad space, said ArcSpan co-founder and CEO Arthur Muldoon. It uses audience data to help advertisers serve ads to that audience on other websites that still have ad space available.

Muldoon said the 10-person ArcSpan would use the fresh capital to hire employees for its sales and marketing and product development teams. He predicts the company’s headcount will triple by the end of 2022.

Hiring in these areas will allow ArcSpan to sign on new clients and, Muldoon says, help it build a product that lets publishers structure their audiences so they’re easier to sell to advertisers. Muldoon anticipates launching that product in three to four months. 

Further, ArcSpan intends to build tools that will help publishers determine if they should serve an audience with an ad, redirect them to another piece of content, or encourage them to buy a subscription.

While ArcSpan still has a lot of ground to cover in terms of building out its product, its founders and investors are a who’s-who of individuals who made their fortunes in the early days of digital advertising. 

Co-founder and CEO Muldoon sold his previous ad targeting company to Dentsu Aegis in 2016, and then oversaw the holding company’s programmatic capabilities for three years. ArcSpan’s technology chief Balaji Rao helped build Demdex, the industry’s first data management platform, which eventually sold to Adobe. 

And ArcSpan’s investors include adtech founders Jonah Goodhart and Noah Goodhart, who founded Moat and sold Moat to Oracle for $850 million in 2017: Snap’s VP of sales Pete Naylor; and AperiamVentures, formerly known as MathCapital. An Insider ad exec is also advising ArcSpan.

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