In some ways, the story of Sift Media is much like that of founder Jud Bowman’s last company Appia.
While innovating at Appia, Bowman and his team discovered a new way of serving up the most relevant ads to specific mobile app users. But Bowman didn’t have time to fully develop the technology at Appia—an intriguing acquisition offer came in from Digital Turbine and it made more sense to focus on the core technology to get the $100 million deal done.
But after the early 2015 exit, Bowman jumped at an opportunity to take that early work and launch another startup. He’d done the same thing eight years prior, spinning the technology that would become Appia out of his first startup Motricity.
Almost everything else about Sift is a different story though.
Bowman raised just over $3 million to spin Sift out of Digital Turbine in January 2016. It was profitable in February 2017 with just four employees.
Appia, meanwhile, raised $30 million and employed 75 people when it hit $33 million in revenue prior to exit. Motricity raised more than $350 million, employed 500 people and reached $110 million in revenue before its IPO in 2010.
Bowman admits that it feels “weird” to hit profitability at this stage of the company. He declines to share revenue figures, only to say that “the amount of revenue we have coming in is equivalent to Appia at 50 people.”
Bowman has stayed quiet about his early success so far. But a new website, launching today, begins to tell the story of a Durham startup quickly becoming a leader in the mobile advertising world.
In just over a year, advertising campaigns run by Sift have helped brands like Facebook, McDonalds, Pandora, Hulu, Uber, Zillow and Audible earn more than a million app installs.