Rubicon Project Is All Growed Up

by David Stern


Like proud parents, my partner Sumant Mandal and I were extremely excited to finally see announced the wonderful news that the company we incubated, The Rubicon Project, brought on an incredible group of financial partners for the substantial B round funding. The new investors that joined us in the B round (we previously did the incubation debt and the A round of $4M alone), included Mayfield, IDG Asia Ventures, and a few strategic angel investors. (You can read more on the funny background of the round coming together from Frank Addante’s Blog, which tells the whole story how Raj Kapoor at Mayfield convinced Frank and Clearstone to do a quick round before we were in the market for funds and only 8 months after birthing the company!).

There are many moments that we look forward to as investors when we participate in seed or Series A investments. Having support for attractive follow on investments from your peers is certainly a wonderful moment. But it is quite a different level of satisfaction when you worked hand in hand with the company Founders in your own offices, pre-PowerPoint. If you are a fantasy baseball player, you know the feeling. In every league, and every draft, there is always on owner that gets derided for the ultimate “reach” pick. You know, the one that gets the other team owners laughing, sending the “wait, you do know that we don’t count minor league stats, right” your way. It is the feeling you got when you drafted Hanley Ramirez or Vlad Guererro, right after they had monster minor league seasons, but nobody thought they would make the majors for the next 5 years. And it is the feeling of satisfaction by midyear when all of those owners are calling you, trying to trade for the guys while congratulating you on your brilliance.

OK, so maybe it isn’t quite like that. But you get the point. It is especially satisfying to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing team that has executed flawslessly to date. And although we all know there is a lot of work to be done to make this company into a truly disruptive advertising infrastructure business, and we all know that fundings are really not important business milestones, congratulations go out to the team at Rubicon. Although we like to joke that they all are the ultimate “sandbaggers”, hitting and/or exceeding every milestone, it has been truly a remarkable first 9 months.”