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Mobile Ad Tech Marketer Tapad Sells for $360 Million

Are Traasdahl's company had $57 million in revenue last year.

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Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Norwegian telco Telenor has bought Tapad, an ad tech company that specializes in mobile marketing, for $360 million in cash.

Tapad, which focuses on tracking users as they move around on different devices, said it generated around $57 million in revenue last year and has 150 employees. The company, founded in 2011, had raised a reported $34 million; in 2011, after it had raised a $6.5 million round, I had heard the company was valued at $140 million.

We don’t spend a lot of time writing about ad tech M&A, but this one is worth noting in part because a good chunk of New York’s ad tech community had bet on it. Angel investors included CEO and Twitter board member David Rosenblatt, AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley and Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan; FirstMark was the company’s main VC backer.

The sale is a much better outcome for Tapad CEO and founder Are Traasdahl than Thumbplay, his previous company. At one point — about a decade ago — Thumbplay had a booming ringtone business, but a move to pivot into streaming music sputtered, and the company was eventually sold off in pieces.

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