Former Adelaide Crows ruckman Brad Moran sold his four-year-old startup software company for $ 205 million.
As reported by The advertiser, CitrusAd was sold to French multinational advertising and public relations firm Publicis Groupe earlier this year for a whopping nine-figure sum, roughly 100 times more than what Moran earned during his football career.
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Launched in December 2017 by Moran and its Adelaide-based business partner Nick Paech, CitrusAd allows retailers to charge brands a premium for the best product placements in their online stores.
The technology essentially serves as a back-end auction where brands can bid for their products to appear in online banner ads.
The online ad search engine has secured services from Woolworths, Coles and Dan Murphy’s in Australia, as well as Tesco in the UK and Target in the US.
“What we learned after talking at length with the grocers is that they were making a lot of money from the available shelf space,” Moran said, as reported by The advertiser.
“And so we basically decided to create the digital version of that – a system where the retailer could allow its suppliers like Unilever and Coke and Pepsi to bid like they would on Google for the top spots on Google, but to top spots on Woolworths .com or coles.com.
“There was a lot more attention on the web towards the end of last year and there was a lot more attention on how we are making money online.
“Naturally, they started looking for monetization solutions and things that could earn them ad revenue to offset the cost of growing their online presence.”
CitrusAd faced an uncertain future as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on Australia’s business landscape, but investor MA Financial funded throughout 2020 to help grow the company’s revenue further 10 times over an 18 month period.
Moran played 21 AFL games for North Melbourne and Adelaide before injury forced him to retire prematurely in 2011, aged 24.
But the ex-footballer described his shock retirement as a “sliding door” moment in his professional career.
“I would have liked to play another 10 years, maybe, but I’m looking back now and I probably think it’s the best thing that has happened,” he said.
“I have lent a lot to the club to help me get into business. Rob Chapman was the very first person I went to regarding my first business idea and he helped me get on the train to meet various other people across town.
“The soccer club has had a really influential and pivotal moment in my career in business.”