Samuel Huber, CEO Admix – Exclusive Q&A

SamuelWelcome to Mob76 Outlook, Samuel, can you tell our audience about Admix?

We are in gaming and define ourselves as an entertainment company with in-game ads that wants to disrupt the advertising industry. Moreover, the industry is hot right now and entertainment is becoming more and more digital. It is one of the only industries growing faster under lockdown – we are a ‘success story’ during a difficult time.

We are also going against the hated advertising industry – big players seen as evil monopolies, stealing user data and so on. We’re taking on Google and Facebook. Everyone likes a David and Goliath story. We are building a revolution in the industry by putting users first.

We also have a focus/expertise on VR/AR which is also a polarising topic – when is it going to become mainstream?

Not everybody is a fan of in-game advertising, what are you doing differently, Samuel?

With 1.5 billion daily players, gaming is the new entertainment. Everyone is playing games, one way or the other. Lately we’ve seen the rise of platforms such as Fortnite or Roblox who are pushing the boundaries of gaming as we know it to become platforms for general entertainment, concerts or education therefore catering for a much wider audience than simply ‘gamers’.

At the same time, that wide new-found audience needs to be monetized, and this is where Admix comes in: we are proposing a business model for the next generation of entertainment. The Covid crisis has further amplified this phenomenon as people have been forced to live online.

How is the gaming industry changing apart from the digital aspect, Samuel?

The definition of gaming is changing rapidly. Gaming technologies, mainly real-time 3D, are started to be used outside of games – movies, manufacturing, education, ecommerce. There is a clear transition from 2D content to dynamic 3D content across industries.

It is not hard to imagine that these technologies will power a 3D version of the internet, further amplified by VR and AR, the next computing platform.

The largest companies out there – Google, Amazon, Facebook – have capitalised on the first generation of the internet. They have generated billion of dollars by monetizing users’ attention in different ways (via advertising and commerce). But they all operate on the 2D internet – websites and apps.

What happens when most interactions happen in 3D, whether on a screen on a VR headset? This requires a completely different interface and technology. That’s what the Admix long-term vision is. We are building a business model for the next generation of the internet. We want to be the next Google of the 3D world.

Why should readers care about what you’re doing?

Currently, we focus on gaming, as early adopters. As a marketplace between publishers and advertisers, we solve two needs for huge industries.
On the gaming side: with gaming evolving into more entertaining, immersive experiences, developers need a new infrastructure to power more profitable business models, particularly in immersive channels such as e-sport and XR where traditional ads don’t work.

On the ad side, the web is saturated with ads; as a result, young generations are hard to engage. Advertisers need to find new channels and a less intrusive approach. They’re realizing that gaming is a genuine channel to engage audiences at scale, but lack the tools to do so.

So, this is a big deal for AR and VR developers?

Admix enables developers of 3D content to monetise areas within their game with non-intrusive placements – such as billboards, posters and even 3D products such as a can of coke or wearable sneakers. These ads are integrated with the gameplay and therefore do not create a bad user experience. It also gives developers complete control over their advertising experience, which is a complete revolution in the space.

Can you give us some idea of what your product consists of?

Our product stack is split into three components:
SDK for Unity and Unreal, enabling developers to create inventory within their games
developer dashboard for inventory management, analytics, and handling monthly payments
supply-side platform, connecting to advertising platforms to sell our inventory on the runtime.

Now please explain that to a smart person who isn’t that into games

The Admix solution enables game developers to place billboards, posters, videos, and even 3D products in their games. Every time a user sees or interact with the ad, the game publisher generates revenue.

Because these ads are integrated with the environment instead of interrupting the gameplay, they do not affect the user experience, and work better for everyone. We are building the first advertising solution that puts players first.

Everybody loves a founder’s story. How did you get to this place, Samuel?

I am French and graduated in Physics from Polytechnical Shool of Lausanne (CH) in 2010. Wanting to apply my knowledge in a more practical way, I came to the UK to get a Master in Engineering and went to work as engine engineer for Mercedes F1 in 2011. At the time, I could see the mobile market growing fast and started some app projects on the side, before making the jump to go full time entrepreneur in 2013.

I used to run a small development studio and grew frustrated with available monetization solutions, all providing a terrible user experience. None of the publishers I knew were excited to work with any monetization, seen as a necessary evil. Yet they all used it.

I thought that there would be an opportunity to build a solution that would put users first, that developers would actually love to use, and that advertisers could leverage to reach an otherwise unreachable audience. This would literally shake the $500 billion advertising market for the better. This ‘three-way marketplace’ is symbolised by our triangular logo.

Where are you based and who’s in your team?

We are based in Farringdon, London, with remote employees in Ukraine. My cofounder Joe Bachle-Morris has more than 20 years experience in the advertising space, as CEO/COO/MD of various agencies like Brothers&Sisters and VCCP. He also had a stint as CMO and BSkyB.

Natasha Whitfield-Niven, VP Revenue was Head of Commercial at Rubicon Project. Our CTO Mohammed Alisrawi has experience building ad servers for adtech companies. We also have great advisors and investors with industry-specific experience.

How big is your audience and how much traction do you have?

We handle four billion ad requests per month (growing 30% m/m), we have 220 publishers onboard and $1.3 million ARR. We also recently raised $7 million and we are using this to expand our global operations.

Finally, why are you better than your competitors, Samuel?

Look at existing success in the advertising space: Facebook and Google grew their ad side model quickly because they made it easy for advertisers to join the platform and start spending. They reached critical mass which quick-started strong network effects that meant that nobody could catch up.

Google owns web advertising and Facebook owns social advertising. Compare that with agencies (aka service companies) whose growth rate is capped, do not build defensibilities, and are worth a fraction of the value.

Admix aims to be the former. We aim to own in-game advertising. We are building unique technology to enable brands to access 1.5 billion daily players while they play, and that requires scalability at its core.

Thanks a lot for your time, Samuel, best of luck with it all

No problem, thanks for inviting me.

Monty (667 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

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About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.