In 2014, together with HV Capital, OpenOcean led the Series-A funding round for an early stage mobile advertising technology company from London called LoopMe. Almost 8 years on, LoopMe has grown to a very profitable business with almost 100 million USD in revenue.
Last week the sale of a majority stake of the company to Mayfair Equity Partners was announced. Although OpenOcean remains a small shareholder in the company going forward, our journey as a key shareholder in LoopMe’s adventure thus ends.
On behalf of everyone at OpenOcean, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to founders Stephen, Marco and the whole LoopMe team; the company’s investors HV Capital, BGF Growth, Impulse VC, DaVinci Capital, Claret Capital, many more; our impressive Chairman Greg Coleman, and all the industry experts on the company’s data advisory board. We are grateful to have collaborated with all of you, and in this blog post I want to reflect on the exciting journey that takes us from first meeting LoopMe right through to today’s major milestone.
Early days of LoopMe
Following several meetings and “dating” for almost a year, with Founder/CEO Stephen Upstone, OpenOcean invested in LoopMe in early 2014. At this point, the organisation was in the erly stages of growth, the company had a few hundred thousand dollars of ad-campaign revenue, perhaps 20 employees, and a smallish seed investment by several industry insiders from the UK (ad) tech ecosystem, including Russell Buckley, James Hilton, Barry Cupples and John Taysom.
We were duly impressed by both founders’ strong background in ad-tech and having already once been part of the management team of an IPO success story in Velti. And their plan of creating a big data and AI driven solution for optimising video and rich media advertising for better real world outcomes was a truly exciting one. Going into the investment, the main risk we saw was not if they could build a business, but rather if they could efficiently scale it to a very large business.
Key milestones over the years
There have been many important milestones over the years since our initial €1 million + investment in LoopMe. Here are just a few of my favourites:
- Development of the LoopMe AI/analytics platform – with the new investment Founder/CTO Marco van de Bergh set out to build the world’s best Machine Learning & AI driven solution for LoopMe. He started by hiring a stellar team of experts and developers to achieve this. Mission accomplished: today, with trillions of data points in the database, over 4 billion devices analyzed, and hundreds of millions of AI decisions made every day, LoopMe’s AI driven optimization is the valuable core enabling all the solutions the company delivers to its customers.
- During the first year as investors – at the board of Directors, we decided to focus on making brand advertising more measurable. Brands also have larger and less volatile budgets than the mobile game developers the company had initially been serving. Today, LoopMe delivers the best outcomes for hundreds of the world’s leading advertisers, so this strategic choice was the right one!
- In late 2015 the company decided to enter the US, which is by far the market with the largest brand advertising budgets. The company has since further grown and scaled-out globally, but the US has also taken over as LoopMe’s biggest single area of business.
- Although LoopMe raised two subsequent good investment rounds to fuel growth, first from Impulse VC, and later from BGF Growth, the company was always very capital efficient and never incurred large losses during it’s rapid scaling.
- Driven by advanced artificial intelligence and mobile data, the company brought out PurchaseLoop, a personal favourite of mine amongst the company’s products. PurchaseLoop uses survey, location and purchase data to optimize campaign delivery in real-time toward brand outcomes, only showing ads to the consumers most likely to undergo a change in opinion, visit a store or make a purchase
- Since 2020 the company has been profitable and has been able to nicely balance growth with strong profitability even when the covid pandemic hit.
The next chapter for LoopMe
Additional learnings and milestones as reflected on by Stephen Upstone can be found in this video interview series by OpenOcean and published during the fall of 2021.
There is certainly much more to come. With the backing of Mayfair Equity Partners LoopMe can now scale even faster and farther than before. I am certain we will hear much good news from LoopMe, Stephen and Marco, in the not so distant future as they continue to boldly further the data-economy. OpenOcean will be cheering for the next chapter of this great Ad-Venture!