HIGHLINE 2015 Investment: Discover Media House

by HIGHLINE 1 year ago

Discover Media House — “the eBay of media buying” — is a Canadian startup founded by adtech serial entrepreneur Steve Lowry, and is the world’s first online marketplace for the entire media industry. In other words, Discover Media House enables advertisers to buy all the online and offline media available in the market from a single dashboard.

A Hot Opportunity in Programmatic Advertising

“The annual spend on media worldwide is $560 billion and growing,” Steve shares. “At present, programmatic advertising comprises $60 billion of that market and is growing at rates of 100% year over year, and could take up to 80% of the market.”

(Programmatic advertising refers to technologies that automate the buying, placement, and optimization of ads.)

“Discover Media House specializes in offline and traditional programmatic advertising, which has just been established as a market segment and has almost unlimited potential, as automation is being embraced by media buyers worldwide,” he continues.

With one of our focused being the future of Media/AdTech, HIGHLINE made our investment in Discover Media House at the beginning of 2015. From our standpoint, the startup is disrupting a model ripe for innovation, particularly for smaller businesses who can’t afford the traditional costs of an agency.

The People Making it Happen

Prior to launching Discover Media House, Steve co-founded Play Taxi Media, a national network of interactive touchscreens in taxi cabs that he operated for six years. Prior to that, he was a lawyer at McCarthy Tetrault and an investment banker at TD Bank.

On the technical side is the company’s CTO Randy Wenas, a highly experienced full-stack software engineer and instructor. Prior to Discover Media House, he started some of his own entrepreneurial ventures and worked for Global Relay and HSBC. Éva Pusztahegyi, Discover Media House’s Media Director, is a digital and out-of-home media specialist with 10 years experience in the industry working for media and technology platform companies. Rounding out the team is Bridget Sirtonski, the company’s Media Specialist who is helping build the DMH database and provide background support to vendors, clients and the DMH team.

Discover Media House has also brought on a roster of industry-respected advisors including Frank Palmer, the Chairman and CEO of DDB Canada, and Ben Plomion, the CMO at GumGum and former CMO of Chango, a programmatic ad company that recently sold to Rubicon.

A New Venture to Tackle Challenges From His Last Business

Steve’s eclectic career history — particularly building Play Taxi Media, which he co-founded in 2008 — inspired the idea behind Discover Media House.

“In the taxi screen business, we would often pitch advertising agencies, and I found that a lot of times we were a good fit but didn’t make the buy,” Steve explains.

“Large agencies have financial pressures to buy media from the biggest, most established players. It’s inefficient for them to incorporate long-tail media suppliers like Play – even when there is a very strong fit for the campaign. I realized that by creating a transparent marketplace for media, more ad dollars would go into media that nicely suit the client’s needs.”

Gaining Traction & Raising a Seed Round

“We have over 300 media suppliers in our system for Canada and we’ve begun adding inventory in the US,” Steve shares. “We’ve processed over $100,000 of media campaigns through our system. Our auction system has achieved discounts over 50% off rate card.”

At the beginning of June, Discover Media House launched a full end-to-end ad planning and buying product at the 53rd Trans-Canada Advertising Agency Network (T-CAAN) conference in Saint John.

They are now in the final innings of raising a $600,000 seed round from veteran angel investors and media industry insiders.

Discover Media House in the Press

  • Programmatic Traditional: Need for Speed (MacLarenMcCann)
  • Cross-Platform Programmatic Marketplace Launches (Media in Canada)
  • Discover Media Takes ‘Channel Agnostic’ to New Heights (Marketing Magazine)
  • Discover Media House: Disrupting the Ad Industry (BNN)

HIGHLINE posts about Discover Media House