For one of the New York Mets' last home games of the year, Ophir Tanz, 35, CEO and founder of nine-year-old tech startup GumGum rented one of Citi Field’s luxury suites for himself and about a dozen employees. At the time, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company was in town for Advertising Week and already had the expectation that it will pass $100 million in revenue by end of 2017. Choosing a live sports game for the East Coast gathering also happened to make it easier for employees to explain their startup's latest venture: GumGum Sports.
GumGum uses patented algorithms to “read” online images and then places related advertisements on top of them. For a client like Ford, for instance, GumGum can find all the images on the websites of its 2,000 publishing partners (including Time, Wenner Media and Hearst) that relate to road trips and then drop a small Ford Explorer ad along the bottom of the picture or video player. GumGum charges advertisers for the service and shares the revenue with its publishing partners. The company grew revenue from $72 million in 2016 to about $110 million this year. It charges clients like Ford a fee for using their technology, but pays publishing partners for ad space. Tanz says the company is profitable.