Melbourne-based advertising technology startup Unlockd has filed for bankruptcy in New York, blaming a bitter legal spat with search giant Google for its demise.
Founded in 2014, the startup’s mobile app offered users redeemable credit for watching targeted ads when they unlocked their smartphones. Its investors include Axiata Digital, the digital services arm of Malaysia-based telco Axiata, that led a $23-million Series B round for Unlockd in May 2017.
Despite all that had happened to Unlockd, Axiata Digital CEO, Mohd Khairil Abdullah such incident does not deter the firm from investing into adtech businesses, which is one of the three core verticals of Axiata Digital.
“This does not affect our appetite to continue building our adtech business. We now run one of the largest digital agencies in the region and will continue to look for assets that will complement and strengthen what we’ve already built,” he said.
Unlockd, which hired former Twitter Asia chief Aliza Knox to spearhead its operations last year, seemed to have everything going for it at one point. The company had raised more than A$60 million in two years from investors including Lachlan Murdoch and had started preparations for a mid-2018 listing on the ASX to reportedly raise around A$80 million ($56.72 million).
Annual recurring revenues were slated to touch A$20.6 million based on gross revenues in December 2017, according to an AFR report.
However, there was trouble brewing behind the scenes. In September 2017, Google temporarily removed Unlockd from its AdMob advertising platform for a month for non-compliance with its policies. Then, the US tech firm notified the startup this year that its app violated both Google Play and AdMob policies and asked for changes or risk being blocked from its platforms.
The disagreement soon spiralled into a legal tussle as Unlockd sought a legal injunction against Google in the UK in April this year. The startup seemed to have won the first round as the UK injunction was granted in May, followed by a similar injunction in Australia.
As the legal dispute escalated, the first casualty was Unlockd’s IPO plan. In May, the startup started a business sale and private fundraising efforts to shore up resources for the battle ahead. However, it failed to secure sufficient funding commitments and was entered into administration in Australia in June this year.
Google maintains that it was only playing by the book. “Our Google Play and AdMob policies clearly set out how our products may be used, and are designed to protect the interests of advertisers, publishers and users. We explained the issues to Unlockd, outlined how they could address the violations, and gave them time to make the necessary changes. Unlockd failed to abide by these polices. As we would with any developer, we enforced our policies,” the Wall Street Journal quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.
The post Axiata-backed Australian adtech startup Unlockd files for bankruptcy appeared first on DealStreetAsia.
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تاریخ و زمان انتشار: 15 آبان 1397, 13:07
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