Ad Startup Nanigans Enlists MoPub Founder Jim Payne For Its Board

Nanigans is best-known as a Facebook advertising company, but CEO Ric Calvillo said that by adding MoPub founder Jim Payne to its board of directors, it can grow the “non-Facebook” side of its business.

“Although Facebook’s done so well and we want to continue to be the best advertising automation platform on Facebook, we think there’s an opportunity to be a truly independent platform as an alternative to the Facebook and Google stacks,” Calvillo said.

He noted that beyond the big online ad platforms, there’s an expansive landscape of large and small publishers — in fact, many of the big ad players (including AOL, which owns TechCrunch) are essentially aggregating those publishers for advertisers.

“There’s going to be a landgrab for all the other publishers,” Calvillo predicted. “Jim Payne is really going to help us navigate all this inventory into our platform.”

In fact, Nanigans’ first move beyond Facebook was adding support for MoPub in 2014.

Earlier this year, Nanigans announced that it had raised $24 million in Series B funding. At the time, Calvillo said the company was shifting from an ad-spend focused business model to annual, software-as-a-service contracts.

He now says the transition is complete, with more than 90 percent of Nanigans revenue coming from SaaS business (basically, the only non-SaaS revenue comes from limited pilot programs). Calvillo acknowledged that been “a lot of skepticism in the market” about the SaaS model, but he said Nanigans remains “as bullish as ever,” because it’s been able to convince large advertisers to sign those yearlong contracts.

Payne, meanwhile, left his full-time role at Twitter about a year after the company acquired MoPub. He’s since joined the board of ad analytics company Metamarkets and is developing on a new startup while serving as Entrepreneur in Residence at Accel.

The Nanigans board already includes Calvillo, Cheetah Mobile CEO Sheng Fu, Rich Levandov of Avalon Ventures and independent advisor Scott Rafer.