Smartly.io Announces Majority Investment from Providence Equity Partners
Providence to Partner with Smartly.io Founders, Who Will Continue to Lead the Company and Maintain Significant Ownership
HELSINKI & PROVIDENCE, R.I. – December 18, 2019 – Smartly.io, a leading global creative and digital advertising platform, today announced a majority investment of €200 million from funds advised by Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”), a premier private equity firm that specializes in the media, communications, education and information industries. Providence will partner with management to help accelerate the growth of Smartly.io through acquisition and organic investment to continue to build Smartly.io’s leading multi-platform advertising solution that combines creative production and media optimization.
Founded in 2013, Smartly.io is a leading digital advertising solution that helps major advertisers create, launch and iterate brand and performance advertising. Smartly.io works with some of the most advanced advertisers in the world, like Uber and eBay, as well as major global brands like Under Armour and Samsonite. With more than 350 employees, Smartly.io has offices in 16 locations around the world.
Smartly.io has been an official Facebook Marketing Partner since 2014, and has worked closely with the company to distinctly serve the data, media and creative optimization process on their platform. Providence and Smartly.io look forward to continuing to work closely with Facebook to accelerate further growth.
“By partnering with Providence, Smartly.io gains invaluable strategic advisory, deep operational experience and market insight, especially in the U.S. where major Fortune 500 companies are only starting to automate their creative processes,” said Smartly.io CEO and Founder Kristo Ovaska. “We envision Smartly.io as the number one digital advertising platform for all marketers, and one that allows teams to leverage enhanced creative capabilities to supercharge and optimize their campaigns. With over €2.5 billion in ad spend flowing through Smartly.io in 2019, the largest global brands are already managing their paid social and online video spend with the platform, and this new partner allows us to continue innovating to better serve our customers as their social media advertising needs evolve.”
Smartly.io enables advertisers to manage and optimize their creative and ad operations across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. With the creative suite of tools in the platform, marketers bring the brand and performance advertising teams closer as well as bridge the gap between creative and ad buying silos.
“Kristo and Tuomo together with the whole team have built an impressive platform, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them,” said Davis Noell, a Managing Director at Providence. “Smartly.io has a unique opportunity to help transform the creative and media optimization process, and we look forward to supporting the Company with our experience and capital to accelerate organic and inorganic growth.”
Providence Operating Partner Laura Desmond has been appointed as Chairperson of the Board of Directors at Smartly.io and joins a group of robust and dynamic leaders, having worked closely with some of the biggest and most successful marketers worldwide, including Samsung, Coca-Cola, Visa, Mondelez, P&G and a host of direct to consumer brands such as Airbnb, Spotify, EA Sports and Twitter. Desmond has spent considerable time with advertising and marketing platform, technology and software companies such as Facebook, Google, LiveRamp and Tencent. She also serves on the board of DoubleVerify (a Providence portfolio company).
“Over the past several years, I’ve seen marketing and advertising technology evolve, with an ever-growing set of companies understanding how to partner with the entire digital ad ecosystem to create value,” said Desmond. “Smartly.io is uniquely positioned to play a lead role in a market where brand and performance work is converging. Together, we intend to grow the Company’s presence in the U.S. and globally, expand to other platforms, and build relationships with brands and their partners to create value for all.”
Macquarie Capital acted as exclusive financial advisor to Smartly.io and Hannes Snellman served as Smartly.io’s legal advisor. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Krogerus provided legal counsel to Providence.
Powering beautifully effective ads, Smartly.io automates every step of social advertising to unlock greater performance and creativity. We combine creative production and ad buying automation with outstanding customer service to help 600+ brands scale their results – not headcount – on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We are a fast-growing community of 350+ Smartlies with 16 offices around the world, managing over €2.5B in ad spend and growing rapidly and profitably. Visit smartly.io to learn more.
About Providence Equity Partners
Providence is a premier global asset management firm with over $45 billion in aggregate capital commitments. Providence pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 200 companies and has become a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education and information industries. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI, and also has offices in New York and London. For more information, please visit www.provequity.com.
Providence Equity Partners
Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Andrew Cole / Hayley Cook (U.S.) 212-687-8080
Conrad Harrington (U.K.) +44 207 4671 050