A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.
UCL graduate’s business raises $6.5 million in investment
10 September 2013
The company – which was co-founded by MSc graduate Zain Jaffer while he was completing his degree at UCL – is now the leading marketplace for advertisers and publishers to buy and sell video advertising within mobile apps. It has made significant inroads into a sector which has traditionally been dominated by banner ads layered on top of, rather than integrated into, an interactive experience.
Following Vungle’s success in reshaping the mobile advertising market, the company has expanded rapidly and now boasts 35 staff working across three offices in London, San Francisco and Berlin.
“Our office in Berlin is our most recent expansion,” says Zain. “We felt we wanted to be able to link up better with some really exciting games companies which are working in Scandinavia right now, in particular in Finland and Norway.”
The latest funding round comes on the back of an initial $2 million investment from a range of partners including Google Ventures and AOL Ventures. They, too, participated in the latest round along with major partner Crosslink Capital, bringing their total capital to over $8.5 million, which will be used for technical innovation and expanding staff numbers. “We’re aiming to double our current staff count by the end of the year,” says Zain.
“Support from UCL for Vungle in the early days was vital to getting us where we are today,” he added. “what I learned while doing my Master’s was so critical to getting Vungle off the ground, and hearing others who’d been there and done that through guest lectures was inspirational.
Zain is emphatic in his advice for students who are thinking of setting up their own businesses during or after their studies. “Students at UCL have an institution which is embedded into the digital ecosystem in East London and which can connect them with anyone. If you’re thinking of launching a start-up, get going.”