After eight years in online advertising with the Denver Newspaper Agency, Auto Trader and Examiner.com, Jeremy Ostermiller started Altitude Digital Partners
with $500 and two interns in 2009. Today, he has 22 full-timers, 15 contract programmers in Russia, India and the Philippines and is hiring 10 more people. Ostermiller anticipates the staff will hit 45 by March.
Altitude Digital Partners has 20,000 websites as customers and serves 10 billion display ads and 1.5 billion video ads monthly. Revenue grew from $6 million in 2011 to $14 million in 2012. The growth landed it at number 54 on the Colorado Inc. 500
list. Ostermiller projects 2013 sales of $35 million to $40 million.
“Publishers have leftover space and something is better than nothing,” says Ostermiller of his business model. “We took the model of Hotels.com and eBay to the online advertising market.”
Altitude gives advertisers the ability to bid for unsold advertising space and takes a 15 percent cut of the sale. In 2011, the company built out real-time exchanges for both the display and video markets; the latter is branded as Visualtising.
“It's getting really sophisticated,” Ostermiller says, citing Amazon as a “big” client. “When someone leaves items in your Amazon shopping cart, we follow that user around the web.”
Altitude's customers include the sites of household names like the L.A. Times, USA Today and NBC, as well as niche sites that often have a larger audience than big names like FilmAnnex.com, a top 100 site.
“A lot of niche sites have unreal traffic, but they have no sales team,” Ostermiller says.