A common sign of a bubble in financial markets is the formation of companies that say to investors: give us your money, we can spend it better than you can. Some of them can but a lot of them just lose the stuff.
One of the current faves is what we might call ‘ad tech,’ the notion that a combination of technology and ‘big data’ has ushered in an era where certainty takes the place of advertising risk and reward. Sometimes it does but…
Recently we’ve had former Havas CEO David Jones raising about $250m for New York based You & Mr Jones, a rather toe-curling bit of personal branding. Warren Buffet is happy to call his company Berkshire Hathaway, after all. Jones, who famously bought crowd sourcing outfit Victors & Spoils for Havas, seems to think that brands can be revolutionised by getting consumers to do the work – with the help of ad tech.
He may be right but on the other…
Now London is seeing the debut of Gloo Networks PLC, which is trying to raise £30m to list on the smaller London AIM market. Gloo is helmed by CEO Rebecca Miskin (left), formerly digital strategy director of Hearst Magazines, and chief product and operations officer (phew!) Juan Lopez-Valcarc, formerly of Pearson.
Gloo says it seeks to benefit from “the changing relationship between consumer brands, media owners and the advertising industry; this relationship continues to experience structural change, driven by the evolving prevalence of internet usage and the increasing adoption of data analytics, allowing businesses to better understand and serve consumers.
“The convergence of the internet and media sectors has created multiple investment opportunities with numerous companies or businesses identified within Gloo’s target universe.
“Gloo intends to acquire businesses that appeal to attractive socio-economic groups, and through the use of data and technology, transform these businesses to fully realise their digital potential, thereby unlocking value and increasing profitability.” It says it’s looking to “acquire and operate trusted consumer brands in the media sector, with an enterprise value in the range of £250 million to £1 billion.” So pretty big then. Gloo’s early stage backer is corporate advisory firm Marwyn.
Some very big companies start out this way. Presumably some one or other put seed money into WPP when the likes of JWT and Ogilvy & Mather seemed way out of the young Martin Sorrell’s reach.
Agencies and others with a digital spin will doubtless be interested in Gloo. Another potential buyer in the market is always handy.