Avocarrot's goal is set: Surpass Facebook and Google in ad requests

STARTUPS
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The story and journey to success of four Cypriots, George Eracleous, Conno Christou, George Makkoulis and Panagiotis Papageorgiou, founders of Avocarrot.

Military service is known as a period in men’s life where – in harsh conditions - they can meet people who will be friends for life. Student life is also known to bring youngsters closer through studying hard and partying even harder. Conno Christou, George Makkoulis, George Eracleous, and Panagiotis Papageorgiou, each one from a different district of Cyprus, met in the army and totally by chance they continued their studies together at the Imperial College of London majoring in computing.

george eracleous avocarrot

The beginning
As George Eracleous revealed during an event organized by JCI Nicosia titled ‘Business Success Stories – The real version’, their entrepreneurial story began at a university hackathon. Their application quickly gained a lot of users. At a certain time they decided they had to make some money out of it; They decided to put some ads inside the app. Observing the ads record, they noticed that users would not click on them so they decided to build their one advertisement algorithm. Steadily they saw their revenue rising. It was then they understood they had a good product in their hands – which was not their original application - and Avocarrot was born in early 2013.

Avocarrot specializes in native ads for mobile applications, a type of ad designed to blend into and mimic the look and feel of the rest of the content on the app.

Their first big break
It was Google that gave these young men their first big break. In Summer 2013, Google chose Avocarrot as one of the Top 8 best startups of the world. Google gave them the opportunity to travel all the way to Silicon Valley. As George noted, during his time at Silicon Valley he was ‘brain washed’ to move their base from London to the ‘tech startup Mecca’. And so they did. They all moved to Silicon Valley, living in a very small but highly expensive apartment. Their efforts did not go a waste. After a year or two, they eventually found a few investors from the USA, impressed by their idea and team spirit, who gave them 2 million dollars.

Following that big investment, Avocarrot launched its native ads exchange to the world and grew from a few hundred thousands of requests per month to 10 billion per month. Also, the team grew significantly from 5 people to 20.

Becoming multinational
In September 2016 Avocarrot was acquired by Berlin-based ad tech company Glispa Global Group for 20 million dollars. Today Avocarrot is among the top 5 biggest companies in terms of advertising request volume. According to George, their goal is to surpass the industry’s leaders, Facebook and Google, and become the number one!

Avocarrot is currently serving more than 12 billion ad requests per month. They have more than 11 thousands registered users across the globe. Their team is distributed in 6 offices across the globe (Athens, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Beijing, Sao Paolo, San Francisco) while Glispa has more than 200+ people all over the world.

The biggest factor of their accomplishments was none else than ‘The Team’. According to George each member contributed to the success and up to this day they remain part of Avocarrot’s journey.

avocarrot at glispa hq

In search of a home base: The factors
After his presentation at the event, when George was asked what are the benefits to start a business abroad rather than in Cyprus, the answer was simple: ‘Cyprus is a small market and though on the one hand it is proven that there is a pool of special talent and skills, on the other hand it is not big enough’.

George also noticed when startuppers choose their base, they must take into consideration a country’s culture. Tech startups are better suited in the USA where there are huge funds continually looking for promoting innovative technology and invest in high growth. ‘This certain attitude puts a lot of pressure on the team for fast results and high earnings and eventually it could be proven harmful for the startup’s course’, George mentioned. Europe on the other hand, is more conservative and forward looking considering if the startup can be viable and profitable in the long run.