Interview: Dave Gwozdz (CEO Mojiva) Discusses Recent Developments in Mobile Advertising

The mobile advertising scene is rapidly changing and growing. Mojiva (, one of the main players, has recently closed a $25 million Series C round of funding and is strenghtening its executive team. Dave Gwozdz, Mojiva’s CEO, talked to us about recent developments in mobile advertising, as well as some of its pain points.

Otilia Otlacan: First of all, congratulations for a very successful series C! Can you share with us what will be your main focus area for the coming quarters?
Dave Gwozdz: Thanks, we’re really pleased with the series C and what it will do for the company.  Our main focus is for Mojiva Inc. to continue being the premiere mobile display advertising technology company operating the most premium ad network in the industry and the ad serving platform which powers the mobile advertising of some of the largest publishers. So, first and foremost, we want to provide the best service to our clients and publishers and continue developing our platforms based on their needs, whether it’s executing large rich media campaigns or utilizing the unique targeting methods on mobile devices.

Otilia Otlacan: Industry experts keep talking of a resurgence of display advertising. How does mobile advertising fall into this trend?
Dave Gwozdz: With all of the advanced rich media available to create impressive and functional ad units and the technology that marketers now have to measure their ad spend, it makes sense to make it a large part of the media mix. Combine that with the personal nature of the mobile device, and that equated to an undeniably attractive outlet for marketers to lean on.

Otilia Otlacan: Mojiva Inc. has a very impressive client roster. In your experience, what hurdles are most challenging to overcome when convincing an advertiser to shift budgets from traditional display advertising to mobile?
Dave Gwozdz: Most marketers understand that most or all of their actions should be considered through the prism of ROI. This industry is still in its early stages, so one of the major hurdles is justifying their ad spend, going from an online ad market that is extremely measurable (relatively speaking, although there has been much debate about impressions and such), to a mobile ad market that does not have a truly standardized way of understanding how effective campaigns are. But, we as an industry are slowly moving toward that; as a premiere member of the Mobile Marketing Association, Mojiva Inc. is a company that is dedicated to standardizing the measurement methods in mobile, helping advertisers understand their mobile efforts through better analytics and helping publishers/app developers more effectively monetize their mobile content.

Otilia Otlacan: Mobile ad serving has been a darling of the tech geeks for quite some time, with many companies developing mobile-oriented ad servers, or adding a mobile component to traditional ones. How does Mojiva Inc.’s mobile ad serving solution position itself on the market?
Dave Gwozdz: It’s a fact that basic ad serving is not too difficult and there are many companies that offer the ability to serve an ad. However, it’s the much more complex functionalities that our Mocean Mobile platform incorporates that really allows a publisher to not just serve ads, but take control of their entire mobile content landscape and organize it as a business. The problem with retrofitting any online solution for mobile is that there will be issues with implementation. We see some of the advertising conglomerate players offering a mobile component to their ad server, but, on the ground, we’ve heard the complaints from publishers about how they don’t feel as if they have all the tools at their disposal. Because we built Mocean Mobile from the ground up for mobile devices (smartphones, tablets and netbooks), we have provided the necessary tools that our clients expect, from supporting the latest in rich media creative to campaign reporting and forecasting. And, because our staff works so closely with our partners, that high-touch relationship allows them to provide input into future developments of the platform. That’s flexibility you can’t find with other offerings.

Otilia Otlacan: Last but not least, do you think that mobile display advertising can finally be regarded as mainstream, and not the ever-awkward channel that nobody dares to throw very large budgets at?
Dave Gwozdz: Considering that more than 230 million Americans used a mobile device in June 2011 (according to comScore) and a day doesn’t go by without the introduction of a newer, better, less expensive and more functional smartphone or tablet, we may be there already. Heck, Amazon alone has been forecast to sell three to five million tablets just in Q4 2011!  Clearly the install base for the mobile industry has certainly gone mainstream. This is just massive. Why? Because these devices are now a critical, can’t-be-without appendage of our everyday lives, and that true on a global basis. No big brands will miss this anymore, its just to big.  As the technology begins to further streamline the process (i.e. HTML5 development, etc.), we will see more and more marketers understanding how effective and ROI-friendly mobile actually is. It’s unstoppable!

About Dave Gwozdz – Chief Executive Officer, Mojiva
Dave Gwozdz has spent much of his career in the emerging media space and since 2008, has been leading the team at Mojiva Inc to develop some of the most cutting-edge mobile advertising solutions in the industry.

Earlier in his career, Gwozdz served as a member of the founding team of DoubleClick, the internet advertising company acquired by Google for $3 billion in March2008. Throughout his time as VP of Sales, he was tasked with developing and implementing their media sales product and sales strategies. In 1995, Dave also founded one of the first online ad networks, Hot Link Media.

Dave previously held various management positions at McGraw-Hill, Ziff Davis and CMP.

Dave regularly shares his experiences in new media at various events and conferences, some of which include: ad:tech, MMA Global’s CEO Summit, Intel Elements and AlwaysOn.

About Mojiva Inc
Mojiva Inc. is the parent company of the mobile ad network, Mojiva, and the mobile ad serving platform, Mocean Mobile. Mojiva Inc. has a total of $35 million venture funding from Shamrock Capital Advisors, Pelion Venture Partners and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. Founded in May 2008 and based in New York City, Mojiva Inc. is lead by a team of advertising and media veterans from Google, DoubleClick, Yahoo, and AdMob, with more than 100 years of collective experience in mobile marketing and technology.