EXCLUSIVE: Mobile Video Ad Firm Vdopia Shuffles Exec Team

/ Aug 12, 2014

Saurabh Bhatia

Mobile video ad firm Vdopia has announced a series of changes at the top of the company’s executive team.

Saurabh Bhatia, who co-founded the startup in 2007 and has since served as its global chief business officer and managing director, has been appointed CEO. He succeeds fellow co-founder Srikanth Kakani, who is sliding over to the role of CTO, a new position at the company.

Additionally, Chhavi Upadhyay, another co-founder, will transition from COO to the Vdopia’s first president.

Going forward, Bhatia will be responsible for Vdopia’s global strategy and revenue growth, as well as defining its product roadmap. Kakani will oversee the development, implementation, and growth of the company’s technology, including its core product, the .Vdo ad format. His other responsibilities will include launching and building a mobile video marketplace, developing a big-data targeting engine, and establishing Vdopia’s “approach” to native ads. As the company’s president, Upadhyay will direct human resources, legal, accounting, and finance, in addition to her current responsibilities of global operations and business development.

Vdopia, which has helped clients ranging from Disney to Microsoft deliver mobile video ads, is positioning the changes as a means to make it more prepared to tackle the growing mobile video ad space. “With these management changes we will focus towards making internal and external processes at Vdopia more productive, efficient, simple, and scalable,” says Bhatia. “We will refocus our energies and efforts on what’s important and drop what is not. This means focusing on winning customers and repeat business.”

For more on the company’s new structure, as well as the mobile video space in general, VideoInk spoke with Vdopia’s new CEO, Saurabh Bhatia. (The following Q&A has been minimally edited for brevity.)

What are your goals as CEO?

I will focus on what I call the three pillars of building a great organization:

People: The goal will be to attract and retain great talent and giving them the freedom and opportunity to express themselves and succeed in an environment that rewards excellence and trust.

Product: The goal will be to focus on fewer products (building less) but delivering more value for the clients. The company will also go all-out in its focus of building world class mobile video advertising technology.

Process: The goal will be to create processes that are scalable and efficient and making sure that Vdopia is ready for its next wave of growth.

What separates Vdopia’s mobile video technology from others in the space?

The key differentiator is our patented .Vdo technology platform. This technology enables executing auto-play video ads across any device/OS with a single implementation; our advanced technology offers quick and easy monetization solution for publishers and app developers and helps advertisers use the power of video at scale across mobile web and apps. The key underlying advantage of .Vdo platform is that it serves video ads within traditional banner real-estate, giving users the complete control of the ad without annoying the whole browsing experience of the user.

Is there value to this, though? Aren’t users then more likely to miss or ignore the ad?

Ads with .Vdo technology have been designed with customer experience in mind. We are working with the industry to solve the viewability and audience verification problem. For example, we recently announced our partnership with Nielsen to provide TV-like ratings for mobile ads. Also we have technology that detects when the ad is “in-view” by the user. We are also able to measure if the ad was viewed 25%, 50%, or 100%.

This approach is becoming industry standard with companies like Vdopia & Facebook adapting it.

What brands are doing an especially good job within the mobile video advertising space?

There are many brands like McDonalds, Toyota, Unilever, P&G that are doing a good job of using mobile video to reach their customers. In fact, the key trends that we are witnessing is that mobile video is now emerging as part of TV (video) planning. We see more ad dollars being shifted to mobile and thus, increased market share.

How do you see the market for mobile video advertising unfolding in the US?

Per eMarketer, mobile video advertising is expected to grow by 300% over the next four years. In addition there is major movement happening in terms of programmatic buying and selling of mobile video advertising. For the first time, CMOs can measure TV and mobile video advertising with one currency: cross-screen measurement. This transparency will also lead to increase market share for mobile video advertising. The winners will be the companies that embrace programmatic, transparency, and understanding of brands objectives. We expect to be one of them.

Correction: This article originally stated that eMarketer estimates mobile video ads to grow by 400% over the next four years — it’s 300%.

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