Viewpoint / Enterprise

Tim Chang Reflects on the Journey with Moat


Mayfield + Moat: Getting SaaSy

The closing of Oracle’s acquisition of Moat marks a new phase of the journey for the founding team of Jonah and Noah Goodhart and early team member Aniq Rahman.  Moat is Mayfield’s 4th major SaaS exit in recent years, following Dave Yarnold and team at Servicemax who served the neglected community of field service workers before joining forces with GE; Phil Fernandez and the Marketo team who pioneered the marketing automation wave before taking the company public and then being acquired by Vista Equity Partners; and Frank Addante and the Rubicon Project team who built a unique automated advertising exchange before taking the company public.  We are honored to be associated with these entrepreneurs and look forward to nurturing the other ground-breaking SaaS companies in our portfolio to similar success.

When we first met the Moat team and led their initial VC funding round in early 2012, they were focused on the mission of helping brands become better storytellers in the digital era.  Over the last five years, they have built a world-class SaaS team in New York City, pioneered the new standard measures of viewability and engagement for the digital media industry, adopted a high-growth, enterprise SaaS business model, and were the first to partner with all of the major new social media platforms, before joining Oracle’s Data Cloud group to broaden the company’s reach.

One key disruption that Moat identified early on was the rise of the Attention Economy, with far more content sources and platforms battling for our limited time – and far more content than anyone could possibly consume even over multiple lifetimes. Consumer attention is now mostly spent within a handful of apps and feeds, with Facebook, Instagram and WeChat playing the role of the new ABC/NBC/CBS, and soon becoming the new store shelf for product discovery instead of retailers like Walgreens or Barnes and Noble.

Market studies show that the net new number of apps users download to their phones after initially getting setup is actually ZERO, despite 50k new apps submitted to the app store per month.  Hence, startups as well as a large incumbents are forced to publish through these new dominant social channels, as well as emerging new platforms such as Messaging and Chat, and soon voice platforms like Alexa as well as next-gen mediums like AR and VR.

The team at Moat realized that with most traffic now flowing into the infinite feeds of social media, mobile apps, and online videos, the notion of paying via clicks is dead – it’s only actual engagement that really counts, but this requires a whole new way to measure and monetize digital media.  With that insight, and their unique software which measured viewability (who watched your video, reacted to a sponsored Tweet, looked at your pinned page, fully read your feed or watched your story) they were quickly adopted by major platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Snap as well as leading publishers and brands as the new standard for measurement and analytics of content and advertising. Another advantage for Moat was its location in New York City, which enabled them to attract and retain world-class technical and product talent, while keeping their pulse on their publisher and brand customers.

Today, Moat has grown into the leading media and advertising measurement company – a Nielsen for the digital media age – and with announcements such as this one, they continue to play a pioneering role in the evolution of media by taking on the challenge of Fake News.  It has been a pleasure to partner with the Moat team since early days, and we look forward to seeing Jonah and his team explore new frontiers and climb to new heights!

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