Phunware Acquires Mobile Advertising Company TapIt Media Group For $23M

Phunware, a company that specializes in enterprise branded mobile application infrastructure and experiences, just announced that it has acquired mobile ad company TapIt Media Group (not to be confused with the Australian NFC marketing company TapIt). The total purchase price was $23 million and the acquisition closed just before the end of the year on December 28.

All of TapIt’s employees, who work in the company’s offices in Irvine, California and Rockville, Maryland, will join Phunware and the company will continue to run TapIt’s ad products under the “TapIt by Phunware” label. When I talked to TapIt earlier this year, the company, which was bootstrapped with a $350,000 seed investment by its CEO Giancarlo Maniaci in 2010, had just launched a number of new mobile ad products and was already profitable and handling about 6 billion ad impressions per month.

Experiences | PhunwareTapIt specializes in offering self-service media buying, real-time bidding, cross-platform ad creation, publisher mediation and yield optimization to its network of about 30,000 active publishers.

“We are honored to become part of the Phunware family, as our combined mobile platform offerings will add operational value, insight and control to both advertisers and publishers alike,” said Giancarlo Maniaci, Co-Founder and CEO of TapIt Media Group. “With the velocity of adoption and maturation of mobile increasing daily, we strongly believe that fully integrated, easy to use, simple to deploy and all-inclusive mobile platforms like Phunware’s MaaS will soon define both ‘best of breed’ and the new global mobile standard.”

For Phunware, which already works with companies like the NFL, NASCAR, ESPN, Discovery and other major brands, this acquisition also gives it access to TapIt’s large customers like Disney, Toyota, EA Sports, MSNBC and Rovio. In addition, Phunware’s CEO and co-founder Alan S. Knitowski argues, the acquisition will allow his company to “add further breadth and depth to the existing global scale of our core MaaS [mobile-as-a-service] platform product offerings.”

As Phunware’s Knitowski also told me in an email earlier today, he considers his company to be akin to a “a big jar of Advil for the mobile cloud.” Phunware, he says, helps businesses “solve both operational and monetization headaches on mobile for global deployments at scale for the world’s most demanding brands. TapIt by Phunware will represent the core of our MaaS Advertising offering globally and will facilitate the monetization associated with free and freemium mobile applications.”

For Phunware, this acquisition will allow it to combine its expertise in building apps on its mobile-as-a-service platform with TapIt’s monetization expertise. As Phunware also notes, this move also shows Phunware’s “aggressive push for ‘mobile cloud’ leadership globally” and the acquisition will help it solve “the underlying operational and monetization headaches of those required to reach, engage and delight them.”

For the upcoming year, Knitowski told me, he expects to “scale our US geographic reach and we also expect to enter foreign markets with physical offices in Europe and Asia.  This will be done via a combination of organic growth and acquisitions both domestically and abroad. Our core focus is to provide the world’s only fully integrated mobile services platform and to become the defacto engine for the global mobile cloud.”