d3sign/Getty ImagesPocketmath, an adtech company that helped advertisers buy programmatic ads on publisher sites, shut down after facing lawsuits over unpaid bills.
Cofounder and executive chairman Eric Tucker said that Pocketmath had tried to get acquired but declined to discuss what happened to the company.
Adtech firms including Mediavine were alerted that Pocketmath may seek "clawbacks," or ask publishers to return money that they've already been paid.
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Pocketmath, a small adtech firm with offices in Singapore and San Francisco, has shut down after facing allegations of unpaid bills and unsuccessful attempts to sell.
The 10-year-old firm sold technology that advertisers use to buy mobile ads programatically and competes with bigger firms like The Trade Desk, Google, MediaMath, Xandr, and Zeta Global.
Pocketmath raised $20 million from investors including Rakuten and InnoVen Capital. LinkedIn data shows that the firm had 21 employees.
It's unclear if consolidation contributed to Pocketmath's challenges, but it's grown significantly harder for small adtech companies to compete with giants like The Trade Desk and Google that dominate the programmatic ad business. Adtech firms with tech similar to Pocketmath including IgnitionOne and Sizmek have been sold for parts in recent years.
Read more: Digital ad firms are finding themselves pinched between publishers and advertisers, and industry insiders say some could go under
Pocketmath cofounder and executive chairman Eric Tucker confirmed the company was ceasing operations after trying to sell. He declined to say what happened to the company and what will happen to its clients.
"Our team has worked hard. This is not the failure of a team; they're good people, and they've tried their best," he said.
The firm is facing two lawsuits alleging it owes money to adtech companies that publishers use to sell ads.
Adtech firm Smaato filed a civil complaint in California's Santa Clara County Superior Court in November alleging that it's owed $264,577. A second civil complaint filed by healthcare adtech firm Pulsepoint in October in California's San Mateo County Superior Court alleges that it's owed $155,532.
Representatives and lawyers for Smaato and Pulsepoint either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. Tucker declined to comment on the lawsuits.
Eric Hochberger, CEO and cofounder of Mediavine, which handles programmatic advertising for small media companies, said that Pocketmath differentiated itself with lower spend requirements and fees. But he said the company was behind on payments to supply-side companies since September and unresponsive to them.
Hochberger compared the Pocketmath situation to Sizmek, which owed millions to adtech firms like Index Exchange, PubMatic, OpenX, and AppNexus at the time of its collapse.
Read more: The cautionary tale of IgnitionOne, a onetime digital marketing pioneer that ended up selling in a fire sale
A supply-side ad tech company, OpenX, said that they cut off Pocketmath's access to its ad inventory in March 2020 when OpenX started having problems getting paid.
Hochberger said one supply-side company told him that Pocketmath intends to ask for "clawbacks," where adtech companies ask publishers to return money that they've already been paid.
Adtech companies often have such agreements in place through clauses in contracts called sequential liability.
Tucker did not comment about nonpayment claims.
If you have more information about Pocketmath, contact me at LJohnson@insider.com or email@example.com.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California September 27, 2015.
REUTERS/Stephen LamTechCrunch obtained a letter sent by India's IT ministry to WhatsApp regarding the app's new policy change.
India's government asked the firm to "withdraw" a proposed change that appeared to require users to share some personal data with WhatsApp.
Indian WhatsApp users, roughly 400 million, make up the company's largest market.
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India is reportedly asking What App to reverse its new policy change.
India's IT ministry sent an email to WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart asking the firm to "withdraw the proposed changes" to its terms of service that appeared to require users share personal data like phone numbers and locations, TechCrunch reported.
"Such a differential treatment is prejudicial to the interests of Indian users and is viewed with serious concern by the government," the ministry wrote in an email obtained by TechCrunch. "The government of India owes a sovereign responsibility to its citizens to ensure that their interests are not compromised and therefore it calls upon WhatsApp to respond to concerns raised in this letter."
WhatsApp originally said users risk losing access to the app if they didn't agree to the new terms by February 8, but later delayed the policy change by three months after pushback.
India, WhatsApp's biggest market, holds more than 400 million of the app's 2 billion users.
WhatsApp was not immediately available for additional comment.
Read more: EXCLUSIVE: GitHub is facing employee backlash after the firing of a Jewish employee who suggested 'Nazis are about' on the day of the US Capitol siege
Upon WhatsApp's announcement of the policy change, Indian residents fueled the 4,200% surge in downloads for Signal, a rival encrypted messaging app. Signal saw 2.3 million new installs in India, or 30% of its total new installs.
Indians also accounted for 16% of new downloads for a similar secure messaging app, Telegram, during the same time.
Indian users also filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in mid-January demanding the government prohibit WhatsApp from sharing personal data with third-parties.
Though WhatsApp cannot view messages between users due to the service's end-to-end encryption, Insider's Rob Price found evidence the Facebook-owned firm shared when users sleep and when they use the app to third-party apps.
WhatsApp has resisted pressure from the US government to allow law enforcement to access messages.
"For all of human history, people have been able to communicate privately with each other," Cathcart told The Wall Street Journal last year, "and we don't think that should go away in a modern society."
SEATTLE, Jan. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Artisan Talent is proud to announce the opening of their newest digital, marketing, creative staffing and recruiting office in Seattle, Washington. The new Seattle office is an expansion driven by customer feedback and market demands and is part of Artisan's commitment to assisting the creative community. Seattle was recently ranked as a top ten place to live in by U.S. News & World Report.
CEO Bejan Douraghy noted: "Seattle has a diverse economy and a highly educated labor force. Seattle is an attractive destination not only for businesses relocating, but it is a hub of high tech companies and agencies that need to augment their staffing. Artisan is in a good position to help staff up these companies. Not to mention, Seattle is a beautiful place to live."
The Seattle office is run by veteran Artisan employees whose unique blends of strategic thinking, consultative leadership, and collaborative skills have resulted in hundreds of successful client engagements.
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About ArtisanArtisan Talent is an interactive, digital, marketing, and creative staffing agency combining the service of a boutique firm with the reach of a national agency. Ranked in the top 2% of Staffing agencies nationwide, Artisan advocates for the best talent, including graphic designers, web and mobile developers, UI / UX designers, interactive learning consultants, project managers, and more. Since 1988 Artisan has nurtured relationships with the best clients, from fortune 500 industry leaders to interactive agencies and small non-profits.
Media contact:Cameron DouraghyArtisan Talent800-216-0600https://www.artisantalent.com
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