AdTech: Scoota Raised $10m, $5m in Revenues, Looking at US Expansion for Programmatic Ad Platform

James Booth

In Episode #813, Nathan interviews James Booth. He’s the founder of Scoota and he founded it in 2008. Prior to that, he was the co-founder and CEO of a company that led Europe’s rich media, providing infrastructure. He sold that to DoubleClick and Google back in 2007. He’s won numerous awards for his service to online advertising, an active Angel investor and a non-executive to a number of startups.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Crossing the Chasm
  • What CEO do you follow? – Joe Zawadzki, Jeff Green and Robert Grazioli
  • Favorite online tool? — Gmail
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 5
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – James hoped he knew the internet was coming

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:50 – Nathan introduces James to the show
  • 02:21 – The company that James exited was Tangozebra
    • 02:26 – They found the name by accident and in 1999, they couldn’t find a .com address
    • 03:17 – It was initially bootstrapped and they eventually raised capital
    • 03:49 – They had trouble articulating what they were doing
    • 04:24 – They raised $1.6M and part of the business went to a media group for 5 years before it was sold
    • 04:49 – Tangozebra was sold to Google for $30M
  • 05:15 – After the exit, James spent 6 months creating a business plan
    • 06:19 – James launched Rockabox (now Scoota) in 2007 with his co-founder, Torie
    • 06:51 – James had put in his own money at the start of the business
    • 07:08 – To date, they’ve raised £12M
  • 07:15 – Scoota is a technology company specializing in programmatic technology
  • 07:40 – Scoota charges a low cost per thousand fee with a benchmark of £1.50 per thousand
    • 08:05 – There’s also a managing service where Scoota takes a percentage
  • 08:37 – Self-service is high-margin and media is low
  • 09:17 – Two-thirds of the revenue comes from the self-service side
  • 09:30 – Team size is 30—based in London and looking to open a New York office
  • 09:53 – Scoota has global campaigns as well
  • 10:41 – In the early days, James would make up all sorts of things just to get new customers
    • 10:59 – In 1999, James had a conversation with a journalist where he spilled out mockups that gave them the exposure they needed
    • 12:17 – Suddenly, there was a story about them
  • 13:00 – Average number of customers
    • 13:33 – 40 agencies and hundreds of brands
  • 14:04 – It was in 2013 when Scoota broke their million dollar ARR mark
  • 14:26 – In 2016, Scoota hit $10M from their managing service side
  • 15:50 – Average ARR in 2016 was a little under $5M
  • 17:33 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Digital advertising has improved tremendously profitable and continues to grow.
  2. Continue to create something even after your first, big exit.
  3. At the start of every business, you have to do what you can to get the first customer.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Simplero – The easiest way to launch your own membership course like the big influencers do but at 1/10th the cost.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives