Business Technology

Captify: Shaking up the digital advertising business for Warner Bros, AmEx and Sky

4 min read

04 March 2015

Former deputy editor

Professional drummer Dominic Joseph found his calling when he decided to drop his sticks in favour of a move into advertising at Mediacorp, which is where he met his future co-founder Adam Ludwin. Together the pair built Everline Future 50 company Captify to disrupt the digital advertising market and claim a slice of the $40bn global display ad industry.

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Name: Captify
Industry/sector: Technology
Date founded: 2011
Founder: Dominic Joseph and Adam Ludwin
Location: London

Young founders Dominic Joseph and Adam Ludwin were just 27 and 24 when they launched digital advertising business Captify.

Interestingly, CEO Joseph wasn’t always in the industry. In fact, he was a professional drummer in his early twenties before he decided to pursue a career in the ad space with Mediacorp. It was there he met CVO Ludwin, who was in charge of lead generation for global brands at the time.

The pair shared a vision to transform digital advertising to make it relevant for users through the use of data targeting, and they’ve gone on to secure clients including Amex, Sony, WarnerBros, Sky and more. 

According to the firm: “The industry was rife with wastage, poor targeting and inefficient media buying. Having studied the growth of behavioural advertising in the US (typically 1-2 years advanced from the UK) there was an opportunity to develop a product that had more granular targeting and genuine global scalability.

“The business plan was formed following researching the market inside out, studying where there is scale, but also technical innovation in developing a product that was not currently in Europe.”

The global display advertising market is a $40bn industry, and with search and display the largest sectors within it, search retargeting sits at the meeting point between them by using search accuracy and the scale of display. The Captify technology allows display ads to show up based on recent web searches.

“A prospect makes a search in our network, that user then enters a consideration phase, where they know what they want, but perhaps not where they want to get it from. This person is actively in the market. We then use our proprietary decision making technology to determine which users who have searched match our advertisers keyword lists and then serve a relevant ad to them once they leave the search engine,” the company explained. 

The venture has been supported with a seasoned board of advisers including, Seven Publishing CEO Sean King; Vincent Potier, MD of Vonage and Lycos, who is now full-time COO at Captify, and Duncan Trigg, founder of advertising network Unaninimis which was bought by Orange.

The company opened a Hamburg office in August 2014 with a view to repeat the success the UK hub has already achieved. At the time of launch, Joseph said: “We’re ambitious and operating in a growing market, so we’re seeking to replicate that success in Germany, where digital advertising is increasing at a fervent pace. To get it right, we need to ensure that we’re investing in a solid local team on the ground.”

Said solid local team is being led by Sven Bagemihl, former MD of AOL-owned Advertising.com. Potier defended the choice to launch in Hamburg and not the tech startup-centric Berlin, explaining Hamburg is “the largest city for media, the second largest city for advertising agencies, and the main hub of the German ad tech industry.”

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