New principal investor aims to bolster Smart’s growth and expansion plans for the next decade.
PARIS—January 27th, 2021—Smart AdServer, the independent ad tech platform, is reshaping its capital structure via a Management Buyout of current investor Cathay Capital by Capital Croissance, which becomes its new majority shareholder. Cathay Capital fueled the foundational growth of Smart, and it will retain a minority stake in the company. Capital Croissance, a France-based investment fund with a reputation for accelerating fast-growth companies through equity financing, aims to accelerate Smart’s growth ambitions to fully take advantage of the growing importance of scaled, vertically integrated ad tech platforms. Smart is poised to benefit from the synergistic alignment with Capital Croissance, born out of its historical track record of partnering with media and technology companies.
With Capital Croissance’s support, Smart intends to continue its US and international expansion as well as consolidate its verticalization strategy, started a year ago with the acquisition of LiquidM, a Berlin-based demand-side-platform (DSP), as well as reinforce its ongoing development in the CTV market. As a part of this transaction, Smart’s management team is raising its collective stake from 8% to 15%. Idinvest and Adelie Capital also joined the funding round.
The transaction comes at a key point of maturation in the digital advertising ecosystem as the consolidation of 2019/2020 has clarified the technology partner marketplace for marketers and publishers to those companies with a more curational and integrated approach.
Cédric Boxberger – Partner at Capital Croissance comments: “The Capital Croissance team is delighted to support Smart’s talented management team in its growth ambitions. We are particularly struck by their focus on expanding and deepening the value proposition through vertical integration with an emphasis on the U.S. In addition, we are aligned with their goal to capitalize on new opportunities in growth sectors like CTV.”
“We are impressed with the considerable value that Smart is offering to both publishers and advertisers, and are convinced that the company will flourish in the ever dynamic digital advertising market.” adds Fabrice Fleury – Partner at Capital Croissance.
“Independence is key to our mission of bringing buyers and sellers closer together in a fully transparent, efficient and fair advertising market. With Capital Croissance’s active support, we will continue to build an ad tech powerhouse as a truly autonomous supply- and demand-side alternative to Google,” said Arnaud Créput, Smart’s CEO.
Founded in 2001 within the French premium publisher AuFeminin, Smart became independent in 2015 and established itself as a highly profitable business with revenue growth of 10x from 14 mil. to 140 mil. Euros in 2020. Smart works directly with hundreds of buyers and more than 1,000 premium publishers worldwide. Smart’s global footprint spans 12 offices across the world. 75% of its revenue is derived abroad with the following breakdown: France 25%; rest of Europe 45%; US 20%; LATAM and APAC 10%
Smart is the leading independent adtech platform built to serve the interests of both buyers and publishers. Smart’s fully transparent platform and shared-interest business approach enables brands and premium publishers to get their fair share of ad value at every opportunity, on their terms. Brands can achieve greater efficiency through their advertising spend, and publishers can act with certainty and have the control they need to provide the right blend of transaction models, channels, formats, and audience data to deliver true value path optimization to brands.
Smart works directly with hundreds of buyers and more than 1,000 publishers worldwide including GPMC, American Media, GSN, Tastemade, Altice Media Publicité, Groupe Marie-Claire, Le bon Coin, Le Monde, Mailonline, The Guardian, Reach PLC, Axel Springer, Wetteronline, Burda Forward, El Confidencial, Prisa and Unidad Editorial to deliver display, video, native, and rich-media ads to over 50,000 sites and apps. Smart is ranked on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA and in the Financial Times’ FT 1000: Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies.
The company operates 12 offices worldwide and leads the charge in building a transparent ecosystem based on quality. Smart is a “GDPR ready” company as certified by independent data protection specialist, ePrivacy GmbH.
About Capital Croissance:
Approved by the AMF since 2012, Capital Croissance is a private equity firm managing nearly €500m of entrepreneur’s funds, specialized in equity investments ranging from €1m to €50m in French private SMEs through growth capital or capital reorganisation (MBO, OBO, MBI, etc.) transactions. Capital Croissance is an entrepreneurs’ club that brings together over 300 entrepreneur-investors as well as Bpifrance, Ardian and AXA France, to be a value-added partner supporting entrepreneurs in their development projects both in France and abroad.
The funds managed by Capital Croissance invested in over 20 fast-growing SMEs, such as BIOBank (bone grafts), Babyzen (baby strollers), Sofia (software solutions for liberal health professions), Teaminside (digital experts) or Onatera (e-specialist of natural health products).