No one knows what Facebook and Twitter are really worth, sexy though the startups may be. But AdMob, an obscure company in Silicon Valley's hinterlands, has a very clear, solid value: $750 million in stock from acquirer Google. Yay boring!
The AdMob deal announced today is the third largest acquisition in Google's history, behind only DoubleClick ($3.1 billion) and YouTube ($1.7 billion). But no one's really been talking about the mobile advertising network or its early-thirtysomething founder Omar Hamoui until now. Hamoui is downright anonymous.
Here's what we've learned about him based on his low internet profile and scant press clippings:
- Has all of 441 followers on Twitter. In contrast, Jason Calacanis, who sold his weblogging company for less than 1/20th as much, has 77,000 followers.
- 32 years old as of May.
- Earned a bachelor's in computer science from the University of California, Los Angeles and dropped out of the MBA program at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Ran computer programming company Vertical Blue for almost four years.
- Senior program manager at Sony Pictures Digital, about two years.
- COO of startup called GoPix.
- Started HerBabyShower.com.
- Started FotoChatter, for sharing pictures between cell phones, but left the venture behind after becoming frustrated with the inefficiency of advertising his site to mobile users.
- Came up with AdMob as a solution to the FotoChatter advertising headaches while at Wharton, at age 28.
- In 2007, Bill Gates personally asked Omar Hamoui to speak at Microsoft's annual gathering of journalists, according to a July 207 Ad Age article. Gates had just bought one of Hamoui's competitors.
- Last year, toured Kara Swisher of All Things D through his cramped headquarters in San Mateo, a town on the San Francisco Peninsula not exactly famous as a startup hotbed. (See below).
- Google bought AdMob after attempting to launch a mobile ad network of its own (AdSense Mobile).
Yes, Hamoui will share much of his Google take with investors, who put at least $31 million into the company. But he should do well for himself: Hamoui is the lone founder (no splitting his dough) and was cashflow positive as of a year ago (giving him more bargaining power with investors). Which just goes to show that buzz, Twitter juice, and the Silicon Valley groupthink that has valued both so highly, can be utterly irrelevant when it comes to making actual money.