Startup of the Week: Setupad
This week we present you a rapidly growing and 100% self-funded startup Setupad. Setupad has built a tool for websites monetization and yield optimisation that connects several ad platforms into a single auction. In this interview Toms Panders and Povilas Goberis, founder and co-founder of Setupad, talk about the challenges they faced in both the beginning and the early growth stage and how they overcome them. They also share their vision for Setupad future. Enjoy!
- So what is Setupad? How does it work?
Setupad is both a tool and a service for websites monetization and yield optimisation. We built a solution, which helps to connect several ad platforms into a single auction. It has a standard industry name – the “header bidding”. Such solution helps to receive bids from several ad platforms at the same time per every ad impression which greatly increases our customers’ revenues.
- What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
Ad networks are sometimes considered as our competitors, but we rather see them as potential partners, who can bring additional demand in our auctions. Sometimes ad networks try to build similar tools and thus become our competitors. Our competitive advantage is a very quick response rate to any kinds of issues and to inquiries from our customers as well as flexibility in terms of cooperation and building customized solutions according to customers’ needs. We are also very much focused on our product’s development and what additional values our tool can offer. Usually such options are limited to bigger businesses in advertising field.
- How did you come up with this idea?
There were huge unsold ad inventories across many big publishers, especially for the so called cross-border traffic. We came up with an idea, that such traffic could be monetized by certain tools, working with RTB. Keeping this in mind we offered our first customers a possibility to earn more, firstly from the cross-border traffic monetization and later – from all remnant (unsold) ad inventory monetization.
- When exactly did you launch and what were the main challenges before launching?
We built a kind of wrapper, where many demand partners can connect and compete with one another. This wrapper contains certain configurations like, for example, limits of how long do we allow for the demand partners to respond and offer their price for the banners they are willing to deliver. The wrapper is then inserted into an ad container on a website and starts delivering the banners.
Launching such a solution was not an issue at all. The biggest challenge was to think of the right way to manage it correctly for it to be able to work with huge amounts of data sets. Every single ad placement is configured manually and it takes lots of time, even though the programmatic itself is about automation. We are still working on a more automated approach.
The backbone of our customers come from Baltic countries, where we are physically located. We also have good connections with local businesses. Currently we are expanding outside of Baltics and looking for customers from all around the world.
Regarding the user profiles, we mostly try to work with regular news portals, but we also work with classified ads sites, video content websites and many others. The most important quality of a website is good content and engaging audience.
- What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
To satisfy all the needs of completely different customers. To overcome this, we negotiate much, prioritize and involve our customers into development flow if possible. Looking from another perspective, the biggest challenge is to make our tool very valuable, not only to monitor the revenue flow, but also to understand why and how it is generated.
- How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
We there not funded, all our investments are made out of our profits.
- Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
Toms Panders is the founder of the company who built the first ties with our customers and came up with initial ideas for monetization. He is currently taking care of all important aspects of business development. Povilas Goberis is the co-founder. He joined the company after a period of technical support and is currently responsible for both technical development and business development. Other important team members are programmers and also sales and marketing people.
- How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
We are currently in a rapid growth stage. New customers are coming almost each week. We monetize around 1 bln. of ad impressions coming from close to 100 websites.
- Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
We will offer more monetization options, analytical tools. We want to become an everyday-tool used by publishers.
Thank you for the answers!