AdStage, Interview with CEO Sahil Jain

Sahil-headshot-2AdStage, an advertising technology startup building tools for businesses to build, manage and optimize online ad campaigns, just raised $6.25m in Series A financing (read here). Sahil Jain, Co-Founder and CEO of the San Francisco, CA-based company, answere our questions about the product, the milestones, the funding and next steps.

FinSMEs: Hi Sahil. First, can you tell us a little bit more about you? What’s your background?
Sahil: Before starting AdStage a little over 2 years ago, my first gig was in the professional video game industry. I then dropped out of High School at 17 to join Yahoo! Mobile. From there I went to UC Berkeley to study Philosophy and Economics, but dropped out at 19 to join AOL Corporate Development. Then I founded my first company, Y Combinator and SV Angel backed at 20.

FinSMEs: Let’s speak about AdStage. What’s the opportunity you found in the ad tech market?
Sahil: We were frustrated by the existing enterprise ad tech products on the market. Existing tools locked out the bulk of advertisers by maintaining high minimum ad spend requirements, requiring resource-intensive onboarding, and putting long-term contracts and salespeople in their path.
Spend any amount of time managing campaigns and you’ll see that doing it without the right tools comes at a huge opportunity cost– from lost time to lost revenue. So we set out to make an easy-to-use self-serve platform available for a flat monthly subscription for advertisers of all sizes.

FinSMEs: Tell me something about its features…
Sahil: AdStage integrates campaigns across Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads into a single interface.
With AdStage, you can create, manage and optimize campaigns across these ad networks from one place. The Platform also includes automation for optimizing key parts of your campaigns like bids and budgets, conversion tracking to measure ROI, beautiful performance reports and more. Additionally, AdStage directly integrates popular 3rd-party solutions, like Unbounce and WordTracker, as apps on the platform. We also develop and integrate our own 1st-party apps to expand the Platform’s capabilities.

FinSMEs: What’s the real advantage it brings?
Sahil: AdStage unifies your digital advertising efforts to give you the complete picture of your performance and then layers on additional tools to improve your campaigns. AdStage users can look forward to better insight into their campaign performance, simplified campaign management, and higher quality campaigns through the education and technology AdStage makes readily available.

FinSMEs: Where are you now in terms of growth? Some numbers?
Sahil: We have 17 employees on the team now and we’ve had over 10,000 businesses join our wait list for access. Over 1,000 businesses have used AdStage to manage 20,000 ad accounts containing over 100,000 active ad campaigns. In the last 3 months, we’ve had over $25,000,000 of ad spend flow through the platform. Some of our paying customers include New Relic, Zenefits and CoTap.

FinSMEs: You just raised a round of funding. What can you tell me about the investors? How are you using the funds?
Sahil: We just raised $6.25 million in Series A funding from Verizon Ventures, Digital Garage, Newbury Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Chris Noble and Neal Dempsey of Bay Partners. Neal Dempsey you may know from his investments in Buddy Media, Guidewire and Eloqua. Before raising our A, we raised $2.53 million in seed from Freestyle Capital, Digital Garage, Quest VP, Dave McClure of 500Startups and many others. Our total funding is now $8.78 million and it will help us expand our team of 17, with 11 engineers, into our new 4,500-square-foot headquarters in downtown San Francisco.

FinSMEs:…next steps?
Sahil: We’ll be building additional first-party apps to simplify a variety of campaign management and optimization tasks, in addition to integrating other amazing third-party partner tools that are in our pipeline. In the immediate future, we’re building in support for another major ad network and hope to announce more details shortly.




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