A Q&A with Vungle co-founder Jack Smith. The London and San Francisco–based company was founded in January of 2011 and offers an innovative technology to mobile app developers. Its platform enables app makers to easily and cost-effectively embed ‘how it works’ video trailers in other apps, adding a new level of dynamism to app marketing and consumer discovery.
Smith’s co-founder is Zain Jaffer, who also serves as CEO. At the start of this month, Vungle raised $2 million in Seed funding from an all-star group of VCs and Angels that include Google Ventures, Aol Ventures, Crosslink Capital, SV Angel, 500 Startups, SoftTech VC, Tim Draper, Maynard Webb and Scott McNealy.
SUB: Please describe what Vungle is, and the value proposition you bring to the mobile apps market.
Smith: The problem Vungle wants to solve for app developers is two-fold: getting a video ad made, and then getting it seen by prospective users by distributing it inside of other mobile apps.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Smith: Mobile app developers.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Smith: Traditional mobile app advertising companies such as AdMob and iAd. Predominantly those using existing technologies such as banner ads.
SUB: What differentiates Vungle from the competition?
Smith: We’re focusing entirely on video and [we] help app developers get a creative made as well as distributed.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Smith: January 2011. Before starting it we did a lot of brainstorming around the name, logo and branding.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Vungle? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Smith: We saw a massive burning need for app developers to acquire users for their app and had previous experience in scalable, high quality video creation.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Smith: Connecting with the app developers who need our product—talking to them as a wide audience.
SUB: You just raised $2 million in new funding. How do you plan to use the funds?
Smith: We are hiring for our San Francisco office.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more funding in the near future?
Smith: At the moment we are very comfortable with our current progress, but will review as things progress.
SUB: What are your goals for Vungle over the next year or so?
Smith: To scale the number of videos that we’re serving.
Vungle – www.vungle.com