The Berlin-based company, backed by $10m in venture capital from Earlybird, Team Europe (also an investor in VentureVillage’s parent company), Point Nine, Blumberg and Felicis Ventures, provides mobile advertising solutions, including to big-name corporates such as BMW, Ford, Vodafone, Universal and Bacardi.
Since starting up in 2008, it has grown to 100 employees and five offices in Europe and notched a successful acquisition in Turkey – now accounting for 25 per cent of overall revenue. Next step for the company will be expansion into the US and East Asia.
This, according to Frien (above), is part of the reason he’s stepping down. He said he wanted to spend more time with family and friends in Berlin, rather than more international travel. “I made the decision that something needed to change… We debated for some time with our partners – we decided OK, let’s look for a new CEO.”
Professionally, what’s next? “I really haven’t decided. I’m going to take 2013 off… It’s likely I’ll start another business but, honestly, I haven’t thought about what it would be. I’m not in a rush.”
The search for the new Madvertise CEO has gone on for about six months. Christof Wittig (right), the eventual pick, joins from Silicon Valley VC firm Kii Ventures, preceded by founding CEO roles at three tech companies in the US and Germany.
How Madvertise will tackle the US and Asia
As W&V also notes, Madvertise has made at least one less-than-successful key hire recently. Ex-Microsoft Richard Dunmall, appointed as new COO last September, left the company after just a few months – reasons unknown.
Frien said he was happy with the company’s growth. “We’ve more than doubled revenue year on year and that’s a fantastic result. We could always do better and some markets didn’t perform as we expected, for example the UK market is a lot more competitive than we expected… But in total, we’re very happy.”
“Madvertise is investing aggressively in its product and technology and has opened several new markets in 2012, hence we are still in investment and growth mode, rather than trying to achieve profitability,” he added.
Madvertise’s expansion into the US and Asia is more likely to occur “organically” than through acquisitions, he said.
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