Former MSNBC Interactive News president Charlie Tillinghast has joined the board of Mixpo, a Seattle startup that’s developed technology to deliver online video ads across multiple screens. The appointment is a big win for Mixpo, and comes two weeks after Tillinghast officially stepped down from NBCNews.com (which previously operated under the name msnbc.com).
Tillinghast tells GeekWire that media companies are struggling to deliver online video ads across TV, tablets and mobile devices — a problem that he encountered first-hand at msnbc.com.
“A lot of the pain points that I had bumped into along the way — in terms of executing on complex cross-media campaigns where video was the center of it — were being solved by Mixpo,” said Tillinghast. He added that other ad delivery technologies relied on a lot of “disparate systems” in order to make cross-screen video ads work, an expensive proposition.
“It’s a great concept, but really tough to execute, so execution often fell short,” he said. “Mixpo came along with what I see as a way to efficiently execute on cross-media campaigns across all these screens. Everyone is talking about cross-screen, but they are not necessarily doing a great job of making it happen.”
With Mixpo, campaigns can be set to run across multiple screens in hours, rather than weeks.
Tillinghast was introduced to Mixpo through Madrona Venture Group, the Seattle venture capital firm that’s a major investor in the company. After a coffee meeting with founder Anupam Gupta, Tillinghast said he was hooked.
Mixpo has kept a relatively low profile in recent years, but that’s because Gupta says they’ve simply been executing on the business. Now profitable for two years running, Gupta said there’s no immediate plan to raise outside financing, though he wouldn’t rule it out if the right opportunity appeared.
The company’s workforce is expected to grow from 65 today to more than 90 later this year. Revenues — in the range of $10 million to $20 million — grew by more than 80 percent last year.
In addition to the core technology, Tillinghast said that he was impressed with Mixpo’s business model. Companies such as Univison, Hearst and Belo are already using the service, and the opportunity is looking solid as the market for online video ads grows from $2 billion to $7 billion in the coming years.
“We are already in that space where it is not just about early adoption, it is about hyper-growth if you will,” said Gupta, adding that they plan to start working more with brand advertisers in 2013. “There is so much opportunity ahead of us … and so it is all about stepping on the gas, and that’s exactly what we are doing.”
Tillinghast, an innovator in online video ads who launched first large-scale advertising supported video product a decade ago, could help accelerate those efforts. And so far, he really likes what he sees in Mixpo.
“The prevailing (startup) model up until recently has been just grow, grow, grow and then we will figure out the money later,” said Tillinghast. “(Mixpo) is very refreshing. It is like an old-fashioned software company that is cash flow positive, and is growing quickly.”