This Japanese startup handles over 1 trillion bid requests every month



Geniee is an ad tech startup founded by former Recruit employees Kudo Tomoaki (pictured above), Hiroshi Hirose, and Takuya Yoshimura in April 2010. Its real-time bidding (RTB) ad network serves up to 20 to 30 billion impressions per month. If that number is not big enough, then this might impress you: each month, Geniee’s server processes about one trillion bid requests.

Back in 2010, Tomoaki says RTB was a fairly new concept among publishers and advertisers in Japan. But because everyone sees an opportunity, a lot of ad networks mushroomed and the market was flooded. The market didn’t quite understand RTB though, and a lot of education has to be done.

“The explanation part is tough. In the early days, we had to send consultants to explain to publishers and advertisers about how to use RTB in their business,” explains Tomoaki.

Despite competition, Geniee stands tall today. It claims to be the leading ad network in Japan and has already started to explore markets overseas. In Hanoi, Vietnam, Geniee has a team of 10.

Our company staff have the entrepreneurship spirit. Many of us are from Recruit and we always think about strategies to be ahead of our competitors.

Our product is superior to our competitors’ because we have twice the amount of engineers compared to them. We collaborate with Waseda University’s research center to make new algorithms with the University students.

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To process one trillion bidding requests each month, Tomoaki is proud of his engineering team. Tomoaki claims that its server is 25 percent more efficient than AWS.

“We used AWS two years ago. But we changed our server infrastructure to reduce our cost. We now have two data centers in Japan and we are thinking of expanding our data center outside of Japan. Our system can receive a lot more request than AWS.”

In Japan, its server can match a bid to an auction within 0.1 second, but that becomes difficult outside of the country. That is why Tomoaki is planning to expand its servers beyond Japan. “We named our startup ‘genie’ because we want to make it feel like the product is magic. Speed is important,” he says.

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In 2011, Geniee raised JPY 72.6 million (US$714,000) from Global Brain and in 2012 raised an additional JPY 100 million (US$984,000) from GREE Ventures. Last year, it raised an undisclosed sum from Yahoo Japan, Transcosmos, and OPT.

“I want to make a global service, a real technology company. My goal is to make Geniee the number one ad network in Asia in the next three years,” says Tomoaki.

Editing by Paul Bischoff
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