Based: Baltimore, MD
Why it's Fierce: Mobile advertising was a hot topic at last month's CTIA Wireless 2007 conference and many companies are trying to figure out the business model for this burgeoning area. Once adamantly opposed to the idea of introducing advertising to their subscribers for fear of alienating them, wireless carriers are tentatively dipping their toes into the mobile advertising waters.
But before mobile advertising can be deemed a success, the industry must first figure out how to streamline the disjointed mobile advertising ecosystem. Mobile ad formats are fragmented--advertisers can buy a WAP-based banner ad, launch a text messaging marketing campaign, insert an ad into a mobile search platform, advertise to a mobile community or buy a mobile video ad. But all these ad purchases require a different platform and usually involve a different set of players. Operators have enlisted the help of a variety of mobile ad platform vendors but few are equipped to handle multiple types of ad buys. Startup Millennial Media, headed by President and CEO Paul Palmieri, is hoping to solve these issues. Millennial's MYDAS platform will unify the fragmented mobile ad ecosystem, serving as a one-stop shop for all types of mobile advertising.
What to look for: Millennial has the right idea--delivering ads across the various mobile platforms and eliminating the fragmentation. With this type of progress, mobile advertising may quickly gain credibility with advertisers and big brands. Millennial is battling for market share in a very competitive space but look for the company to ink some deals with some major brands in the coming year.