IgnitionOne went from being a digital marketing pioneer to being sold off in parts. Here's the story behind its rise and fall.


IgnitionOne CEO Will Margiloff

  • IgnitionOne was a onetime digital marketing pioneer that ended up selling parts of its business to Zeta Global and Publicis Media in November, a casualty of ongoing adtech and martech consolidation.
  • Business Insider spoke with 20 former employees, investors, advisers, and others about the company’s rise and fall.

In 2013, marketing tech firm IgnitionOne spun out of holding company Dentsu in a management-led buyout with the goal of creating a company that could change digital marketing.

That idea came to an end this fall, when IgnitionOne sold for pieces to Zeta Global and Publicis Media when it wasn’t able to renew a line of credit. The company also faces lawsuits from investment firm Progress Partners and adtech firm PubMatic alleging they’re owed a total of nearly $2 million in unpaid bills.

Business Insider spoke to 12 former employees and eight others including investors and shareholders about what happened at IgnitionOne. Key takeaways:

  • Financial documents and sources said IgnitionOne struggled to diversify its business. The firm had invested in marketing tech in recent years but its programmatic advertising business made up most of its revenue.
  • IgnitionOne’s management also invested significantly in the company, leading to mismanagement, clashes over strategy and muddied communication with staff, according to sources.
  • Some people said that the firm was too reliant on Publicis Media as a client. Publicis Media contributed to most of IgnitionOne’s second-quarter programmatic revenue, according to a financial document obtained by Business Insider. At the same time, agencies are slashing the number of adtech companies that they work with while advertisers are paying their bills later, making it difficult for adtech firms like IgnitionOne to stay current on its own bills.

Read the rest of the story here: The cautionary tale of IgnitionOne, a onetime digital marketing pioneer that ended up selling in a fire sale

Read more of Business Insider’s coverage of IgnitionOne here:

  • Adtech company IgnitionOne lays off staff while facing an allegation of unpaid bills
  • Adtech company IgnitionOne further cuts head count as 2 more clients report unpaid bills
  • IgnitionOne is shutting down. Read the letter its CEO sent to shareholders about what happened to one of adtech’s oldest companies.

SEE ALSO: Here are the 18 hottest adtech companies of 2019

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