Project Agora, a leading Media Technology company with activity across CEEMEA & LATAM and very strong presence in the Middle East & Africa, has been recently named as one of the 1,000 fastest growing companies in Europe by the Financial Times’ annual list. We sat down with Project Agora’s Managing Director, Nikos Komninos, to discuss this accolade and what it means for the company’s future.
Q. So let’s start with the list – where did Project Agora rank?
Nikos Komninos: Project Agora placed 325th in the pan-European rankings, which was a huge honor. However, we also ranked 11th in the field of Advertising. The importance of the FT1000 rankings is that they rank companies based on their 4-year cumulative growth, not just one year. Therefore, this ranking is a testament to our consistent efforts to produce sustainable growth and to have a real impact on our industry.
Q. Tell me a little about that. What exactly does Project Agora do?
N.K.: Project Agora is a Media Technology company on a mission to Keep the Open Web Open. We work with thousands of local media owners who are facing stiff competition for their fair share of advertising dollars from the global giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon. We offer these partners a wide range of solutions so that they can maximize their revenues, in the near and long term. Our aim is to create a virtuous cycle whereby they have the resources to reinvest in quality content and services for their local communities, allowing them to retain and grow their user base.
In a world which is dominated by fake news and social media bubbles, local media has a major role to play. At Project Agora, we try to do our part in enabling our media owner partners to remain free and independent.
Q. Wow, that’s a noble vision indeed – can you tell me a bit more about how you achieve this?
N.K.: Our client base consists of roughly 2,700 media owners and 9,000 advertisers across EMEA and LATAM.
For media owners, we offer advertising technology which helps them generate more revenue from every website visitor. That means increasing competition for ad placements, creating new advertising real estate and increasing site traffic. We have proprietary tech that helps us do that, and we partner with some major global players also.
For advertisers, we run campaigns within the Project Agora network. That includes providing creative, interactive advertising formats and offering pricing models which guarantee results. Plus, because we work with premium publishers at both local and global levels, we can offer our advertising partners access to some of the most trusted, brand-safe, high-worth advertising space on the web.
Q. Interesting. Has that model impacted your growth?
N.K.: It certainly means that our growth compounds. The more premium the publishers we work with, the more value we can offer advertisers – and vice versa!
To put things into perspective, the FT’s list is based on business’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2017-2020. Our CAGR for that period was 80.26% – so over the last four years, we’ve grown more than 485%!
What differentiates Project Agora is that we combine technology with a strong team. In the same period, we grew from having 25 employees to 104 – and we now have over 120. On top of our engineers, we have dedicated teams for Publisher Success, Technical Support, Campaign Operations and local business development, so that we can proactively address our partners’ needs in this ever-changing industry. We also pride ourselves on our Yield Optimization team which complements our technology and state-of-the-art algorithms, by adding the much-needed human intelligence element to our solutions.
Every person we bring onboard adds something new to the offering. And it never stops – we’re literally recruiting for about 20 roles as we speak!
Q. Where are you currently present and where to next?
N.K.: We have presence in Dubai, Riyadh, Cairo, Athens, Patras, Limassol, Bucharest, Budapest, Prague, Bogota and Sao Paulo. That gives us touch points through EMEA, and we’re currently actively expanding into LATAM. We are also heavily investing in new product development in order to keep providing the most innovative solutions to our media owner and advertising clients. It really is an exciting time for the business!