April 29, 2021
Moloco announced today it has raised $150 million in Series C funding to bring sophisticated, transparent machine learning models to businesses throughout the world. The round was led by Tiger Global Management, an investment firm focused on public and private companies in the global internet, software, consumer, and financial technology industries, with participation from existing investors. Moloco has now raised a total of $200 million to date. Its latest funding gives the company a $1.5 billion valuation. Moloco has consistently grown in excess of 100 percent annually and has surpassed an annual net revenue run-rate of more than $100 million.
“Until now, only the world’s largest technology companies have benefited from the power of exceptional machine learning,” said Ikkjin Ahn, co-founder and CEO of Moloco. “Our goal is to make machine learning models accessible to more businesses so that they can leverage their first-party customer data for better user acquisition, customer engagement, monetization and growth. As consumer privacy restrictions evolve and become more stringent, it is increasingly critical for businesses to activate their own customer data in order to inform and optimize business decisions.”
Moloco was founded in 2013 by Ikkjin Ahn, an early machine learning engineer at YouTube, part of Google. Mr. Ahn was a pioneer of machine learning at YouTube and Android, where he built significant parts of the company’s data and machine learning infrastructure. He founded Moloco with the vision of making sophisticated machine learning algorithms available as a cloud service to a wide variety of businesses, industries and use cases.
Moloco Cloud is a Demand Side Platform (DSP) that enables advertisers to programmatically purchase ad inventory across the mobile app ecosystem. The DSP is purpose-built for performance advertisers and leverages the company’s machine learning engine, first-party data, and contextual signals to optimize ad spend. Moloco Cloud uniquely provides marketers with the performance benefits of machine learning combined with full transparency, in contrast to the walled gardens that dominate ad budgets.
Moloco Cloud has been rapidly adopted by mobile gaming companies who deploy quantitative marketing strategies as their primary channel of growth. As the strategies developed by mobile gaming companies have become more popular with disruptors across industries, Moloco has quickly grown its revenue from e-commerce, social media, personal finance, and direct-to-consumer commerce companies. “Most machine learning models can deliver accurate predictions for only one industry taxonomy,” said Mr. Ahn. “Our deep learning neural network models and data infrastructure were designed from day one to be flexible enough to ingest any type of commercial data and make exceptionally accurate predictions. Our growth and performance in diversified industries demonstrates the depth and flexibility of our machine learning platform.”
Moloco's next major release, the Retail Media Platform, is currently in beta with select customers. The Retail Media platform enables e-commerce companies to leverage their customers’ first-party data to create new revenue streams, including sponsored ads powered by Moloco's product recommendation engine.
Moloco spent six years developing its machine learning and data infrastructure and making it available as an ultra low latency cloud service. The company’s deep learning neural network model is hosted in the cloud and makes more than 2 million deep learning prediction queries per second and generates highly accurate predictions in under 100 milliseconds.
Moloco currently serves more than 13 billion ad impressions monthly and reaches nearly 10 billion global devices through 5.58 million apps, including those from developers such as King Digital, Playrix, Netmarble, and others. Moloco employs more than 200 people in eight offices throughout the world, with more than 60 percent of its team in engineering and data science — an unusually high percentage compared to similar companies.
“The mobile advertising ecosystem runs increasingly on data, and no one provides better data-driven solutions than Moloco's,” said Maxim Kirilenko, chief business development officer at Playrix, the mobile developer behind free-to-play titles such as Fishdom and Gardenscapes, and the third-largest mobile game developer in the world in terms of revenue. “Whether for programmatic user acquisition or for in-house control of their data, MOLOCO’s machine learning-powered solutions give us the edge we need to thrive in today’s data-driven mobile landscape.”
The financing will enable Moloco to accelerate its product and engineering roadmap, while supporting strategic expansion into new geographies and high growth markets. It will also hire for key positions within the organization.
“The volume of digital data produced is growing exponentially yet the tools available for taking action on that data remain relatively limited. We invested in Moloco because its machine learning algorithms have proven to be among the best available and the level of transparency and sophistication the company brings to data-driven businesses is paramount in today’s world,” said John Curtius, Partner at Tiger Global. “We are very excited to partner with Ikkjin and impressed by his long-term product vision.”
RBC Capital Markets acted as Exclusive Placement Agent to Moloco. Fenwick and West, LLP acted as legal advisor to Moloco, and Gunderson Dettmer acted as legal advisor to Tiger Global.