To be clear, that’s gross revenue (i.e. revenue before paying publishers). And AppLovin actually has been in business for a little more than two years — it was “stealth” in the sense that it wasn’t really talking to anyone except the advertisers and publishers that it worked with. Still, the number suggests that the company has built a significant business in a relatively short period of time, and without attracting much press.
I met with Foroughi when he was in New York a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, my notes from my meeting seem to have disappeared, but through a combination of follow-up conversations, emails, and, uh, reading the AppLovin website, I’ve been able to reconstruct what the company actually does: The idea is to both grow an advertiser’s user base and help them make more money from those users, through a combination of customer acquisition and retargeting.
The company says it takes advertisers’ existing customer data and uses targeted mobile ads to find similar consumers. Then, when those ads succeed in driving downloads, AppLovin’s technology will continue tracking user behavior, which in turn is used to create personalized, retargeted ads — for example, a customer who bought a dress in your app might then see ads promoting a deal on matching shoes.
AppLovin says it works with 300 “major brands,” including Spotify, OpenTable, and Nordstrom. It also says it reaches 500 million mobile devices each month, with revenue growing 25 percent quarter-over-quarter.
Foroughi told me via email:
We are a product first company. One fact that sets us apart is that we have 4x as many engineers as sales people which contrasts the structure of most marketing and advertising companies. Our belief is that advertising has been flawed and by building technology that makes advertising more relevant for consumers we are making it more like content, which means it is ultimately more effective. Our goal is simple: build more products that will help brands communicate more effectively with consumers.
AppLovin has raised $4 million from undisclosed angel investors.
Oh, and I do remember one thing from that initial interview: The company name originated, in part, with Foroughi’s love of the movie Superbad.