For our new and veteran readers alike, as 2015 comes to an end we’d like to recap what proved to be a momentous and very exciting year ─ from Series B funding to U.S. expansion, from welcoming new board members to riding the waves of the publisher site surge.
In October, the announcement that we had secured $3.5M in funding, led by venture capital firms Nauta Capital, Elaia Partners and BDMI, was sent over the wires. The announcement marked an official “exit” for Wayra, the global startup accelerator within Telefónica Open Future program that had initially financed Marfeel’s innovative vision. Andrés Saborido, General Manager of Wayra Spain, reflects, “We are pleased to have been such a large player in nurturing Marfeel’s growth to one of leadership in designing and monetizing mobile websites for publishers, an area that has become a primary focus in today’s digital world.”
“High-level European and U.S. publishers have experienced unprecedented success in growing mobile metrics and ad revenue, by converting to the Marfeel solution. Understanding the potential and demand that the solution offers in the U.S., Nauta has opted to support Marfeel in its efforts of expanding presence in that market,” says Jordi Viñas, General Partner, Nauta Capital.
The funds will be used primarily to expand our presence in the U.S. market. We’ve since opened a New York office to further enhance our monetization technology and focus on user targeting. “Marfeel’s strategic direction will focus on U.S. expansion and on leveraging the over 100 million users already accessing our solution, to enhance user targeting precision,” says Xavi Beumala, our co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Mobile advertising today is about knowing users intimately and targeting them according to their individual needs. Marfeel’s data targets users insightfully so that publishers achieve higher monetization and engagement rates, while providing an optimized mobile user experience.”
Having recently announced 300 percent growth over the past year, we are very fortunate to attribute much of this success to our work with world-leading publishers and top bloggers, who use our proprietary technology to convert desktop websites into user-friendly, adaptive, monetization-optimized mobile sites. (Some of our global customers include MensHealth and National Geographic in France, Elle in Mexico, DennisPublishing in the US and UK, and ABC and PopSugar in the US.) Dynamically adjusting content and engaging users based on their interests and behavior patterns, our customers’ sites reach more than 150 million readers on a monthly basis.
In the last year, we have also grown and nurtured exclusive partnerships with more than 20,000 global ad networks and exchanges, ensuring top-paying ads from premium advertisers. Our mobile website conversion and monetization solution has since been recognized by Google, and has led to the formation of a strategic partnership with the search engine giant.
Digital media veteran Jennifer L. Wong was recently named to the company’s board of directors. Time Inc. has since appointed Ms. Wong as President of Digital, a newly-created position. She is the former Chief Business Officer of PopSugar, one of the biggest lifestyle and gossip online properties in the world, and previously worked at McKinsey, and at AOL in various senior executive roles. “I’m very pleased to join the Marfeel Board of Directors,” she says. “Global mobile engagement and monetization is critical, and Marfeel has developed leading technology which enables dynamic content and ad rendering. Having worked with Marfeel on the client side, I’ve had an opportunity to see how their solution can benefit publishers in terms of traffic, engagement, and revenue.”
We are confident that Ms. Wong’s appointment will be a tremendous asset and endorsement for the company. “It’s a way of ratifying our technology and business model,” says Juan Margenat, co-founder of Marfeel. We started off as a pure SaaS technology startup, but quickly pivoted to focus on managing publishers’ ad inventory. “Ms. Wong is also in New York, which will definitely help us in our objective of conquering the U.S.”
Among the most significant developments of 2015 have been publishers’ decisive shift from desktop to mobile web, and the growing demand for fast page-loading times on mobile sites. A widely-referenced 2008 Aberdeen Group study found that “a 1-second delay in page-load time equals 11 percent fewer page views, a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7 percent loss in conversions.” Today, 57 percent of consumers will abandon a website if the page doesn’t load within 3 seconds, and 80 percent of them will not return. These findings clearly indicate that user expectations for speed have been rising, and are likely to keep rising.
Just look at the offerings released by some of the biggest brands in mobile advertising lately. Facebook has Instant Articles, Apple has its Apple News app, and Google has the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. Each of these initiatives have different plans for upping the speed in which viewers can acquire content on their mobile devices.
AMP is one of the more interesting platforms being developed. According to Google, it will speed up mobile pages by 85 percent by making pages cleaner and less complicated. This is good for the advertisers, the publishers, and the readers. Speed is a great contributor to a better user experience. Marfeel takes this into account, and has been offering those kind of speed increases for some time now. We can match Google’s promised speed, improving other performance factors, and creating a monetization-driven layout, while granting full brand control to publishers.
All of us at Marfeel look forward to whatever the tides will bring in during 2016. We’re all suited up and ready to dive in. Is your site 2016 mobile ready?