Digital Content Next divests TRUSTX to Symitri

By Ronan Shields  •  May 20, 2024  •

Ivy Liu

The much-touted re-emergence of dealmaking in ad tech is slowly appearing, with much of the activity taking place between strategic players.

The latest episode in this trend is Digital Content Next, a non-profit aimed at promoting the interests of online publishers, offloading its ad tech arm TRUSTX to Symitri following months of strategic deliberations.

Symitri announced it has closed on $5 million in funding from institutional investors KB Partners, Aperiam Ventures, and Trajectory Ventures, as well as ad tech industry luminaries such as Jonah Goodhart, Will Luttrell, and Ari Paparo.

David Kohl, cofounder and CEO of Symitri, said the intention is to launch “the world’s first integrated privacy firewall and real-time data clean room,” a venture the involved parties believe will help balance the economic viability of open-web programmatic advertising with the growing global demand for consumer privacy.

Financial details of the sale of TRUSTX–a nonprofit ad exchange promising advertisers transparent inventory from DCN publishers such as News Corp, Hearst, and The Washington Post–were not disclosed. However, it is understood the initiative comes after three years of joint experimentation.

Additionally, Symitri is collaborating with Akamai Technologies, a multibillion-dollar, Nasdaq-listed company with a lineage in enterprise services, such as providing content delivery networks, cybersecurity, and cloud computing, to help with the rollout.

According to Kohl, following a beta launch with TRUSTX in 2024, Symitri plans to expand its supply-chain partnerships and integrations with select identity and data technology providers.

“Publishers told us they were deeply concerned that next-generation shared identity solutions perpetuate many of the same data leakage and inventory commoditization challenges that cookies created,” he said.

“We’ve watched how other privacy technologies have entered the market and where they’re good for the market, and where–in the opinion of our clients and data privacy experts such as lawyers–there are some faults,” Kohl told Digiday.

Paparo, an experienced executive in the ad tech space, told Digiday the approach favored by Symitri differed from that of rival supply-side platforms, many of whom adopt an approach that substitutes established identifiers, such as third-party cookies, with like-for-like alternatives.

He described Symitri’s approach as “an innovative approach to the post-cookie world” as it integrates clean room technologies into the [programmatic] transaction in real-time. “It could have a big advantage over other solutions,” added Paparo.

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