Telenor plus Tapad
Entrepreneur Are Traasdahl’s startup connects with customers across all devices
Norwegian startup Tapad was recently acquired by Telenor for $360 million USD when the founder Are Traasdahl sold his half of the company. Tapad is based in New York and was established in 2010 by the Norwegian entrepreneur. The company delivers unified cross-device marketing technology solutions that give publishers, marketers, and technology providers a holistic view of consumers across devices and screens, including smartphones, tablets, home computers, and smart TV.
Are Traasdahl was born in a small village in Sør-Trøndelag. He moved to Trondheim in 1992 to study industrial administration and economics at NTNU. When he finished his studies, he moved to Oslo and started working for PA Consulting Group. Telenor approached him after he had worked with mobile technology for a few years and sent him to the U.S. to start a new company.
At the time Norway was ahead of America in mobile technology, and Telenor lead the mobile voting industry on American TV shows. But Traasdahl felt his ambitions exceeded those of Telenor, so he quit and started his own business.
He started Thumbplay along with a partner as a U.S.-based subscription service, and some of the major venture capital players backed the company. The mobile entertainment startup that allowed users to download music, video, and games to their cell phones was sold in 2010 for an undisclosed sum. With the money he started Tapad.
According to the CEO of Telenor, with this acquisition they are taking a position within the rapidly growing market for advertising technology and securing important competence within digital marketing and analytics. He believes significant value can be created from applying marketing technology to improve the digital capabilities of the group’s core telecom business. This will improve their understanding of customer behavior and support building a platform for other business areas.
Tapad is a market leader in the U.S., providing an accurate and unified approach to connecting with consumers across screens. Their solution assimilates billions of data points from different devices and platforms and helps customers recognize, measure, and monetize their audiences across all of their internet-connected devices, while at the same time respecting data privacy.
On their first date in New York, Traasdahl and his wife discovered that they were both from Fannrem, a small village in Norway. According to the couple, entrepreneurship is 2 percent genius and 98 percent hard work.
Tapad will be operated as a stand-alone company. Traasdahl, the current CEO, and Dag Liodden, co-founder and CTO, will maintain their positions.
This article originally appeared in the April 8, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.