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50 Leading Companies of the Year 2017

High-Performance Mobile Advertising Platform Motive Interactive

thesiliconreview-brendan-smith-ceo-motive-interactive-17We have been firmly committed to maintaining the industry's most trusted and cutting-edge performance-marketing network: Brendan Smith, CEO & Founder Motive Interactive 

Among the host of new-fangled technologies in today’s consumer landscape that have shifted the way businesses have to handle their marketing efforts, one of the most prominent innovations is the ubiquitous smartphone. The number of active smartphone users in the world today has recently surpassed the one billion mark. With a significant percentage of these users using their smartphones on an incredibly regular basis – it is imperative to adopt mobile promotions as one of the most emphasized marketing strategies for businesses.

In light of the above mentioned, we are excited to present Motive Interactive, a performance-based mobile ad network that represents brands across numerous verticals with a focus on user acquisition for mobile apps.

The firm provides mobile marketing services for many of the leading app companies across the globe. It develops and markets technologies, strategies, and services that have been defining digital marketing since 2004.

Motive Interactive has been recognized by Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Deloitte, San Diego Business Journal and numerous other media sources as one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States.

The firm was founded in 2004 and is based in San Diego, California.

Interview Excerpt: Brendan Smith, CEO & Founder

Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform? 

The company was set up originally to fill a void in Internet advertising. This void was quality. In the gold rush times of early Internet, few companies were focused on providing quality product and service for partners. Rather the focus was on how to bring in as much money as possible. This theme carried over into the next iteration of the business when in 2012 we decided to go 100 percent mobile. Today, we have become one of the top mobile advertising companies in the world and the secret sauce was in front of everyone from the beginning – quality.

We have been firmly committed to maintaining the industry's most trusted and cutting-edge performance-marketing network. We were early adopters of mobile marketing technologies and have constantly adapted to meet the challenges of this ever-evolving industry.

Tell us about your first product that was launched.

We launched a product called Advent – an amazing software platform that tracked all of our clicks and leads. It basically was the backbone of the business and something I personally was very involved in creating. We took this software down permanently in 2012 and opted to run this part of the business through a Saas-based solutions partnership. This was a difficult decision that I feared would damage our value as a company. We made the decision because things had changed in the industry and boxed solutions were cheaper than maintaining our own technology. The result was amazing because it forced us to focus on the core business and as it turned out the software at that time was a distraction. Today those systems are even cheaper and they add very little value to companies who build them in-house. Our current products are far more complex and add significant value to our company. When it comes to the product we are focusing on what gives us a unique value.

How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.

Out first project was a huge success. We debuted the product with a two-story 20x20 booth at a major trade show in San Francisco. Our booth neighbors were Google and Twitter. We took a lesson from Apple and created a platform and product that had amazing user experience and was simply beautiful. It was a proud moment and a huge relief when it was able to handle the bandwidth we through at it. We launched this Ad Tech product at a time when people were saying Google and Twitter will own the entire advertising ecosystem and that it would be impossible to compete in that. This kept so many people from competing in the space. Little did they know despite having the biggest booth and investing so much in the design interface of our products we had no intention of competing with Google or Twitter. These great companies continue to control a huge part of the mobile advertising ecosystem and we remain a serious player that reaches areas of that vast ecosystem that the giants are not lean enough to access. 

What do you feel are the reasons behind your consistence growth as an organization?

Our growth is a result of knowing when to pivot the business, having the grit to survive when times are difficult and having a clear vision that does not deviate from our core values. Putting the right people into the organization at the right time and giving them the freedom to have an impact is also a key to our growth. We are notoriously against micro management; this obviously creates some challenges. We believe in empowering employees and allowing them to be impactful even if it means making a few mistakes along the way. Because of this we are recognized as one of the top mobile advertis­ing platforms and a leader in user acquisition for mobile apps. Our advertis­ers find a risk-free environ­ment for their campaigns and our publishers experi­ence the best possible abil­ity to monetize their traffic. Operating worldwide we provide advertisers, pub­lishers, and app developers a complete global solution across all operating sys­tems. Our commitment to providing premium service is a fundamental key to our success.

What learning’s helped you to set this company up?

I do not have formal business training but I was raised in a very creative environment. I attribute my success and business knowledge equally to my Mom and Dad. My father is a Marine turned entrepreneur, my mother invested in real estate, has an amazing eye for design, and raised 6 kids. The lessons we all learned in that amazing house growing up were far more valuable than any MBA program. 

The Brain behind the Picture

Brendan Smith, CEO & Founder: Brendan Smith oversees all aspects of the operations of the company with a focus on new business development, strategic relationships, design, and technology. Prior to founding Motive Interactive, Mr. Smith served as Senior Business Development Manager for NetCreations, Inc., a leading opt-in email marketing company. At NetCreations, he built a team responsible for developing business opportunities with strategic partners, such as MSNBC, CNET, ZDNet, Tech Republic, and Tech Target.

Prior to NetCreations, Mr. Smith was a successful entrepreneur responsible for building several distinct and profitable Internet businesses. These travel, technology, and survey-based websites have been featured in many national publications and websites, including Travel + Leisure Magazine, Coastal Living, The New York Times, New York Post, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, Denver Post,,, and to name a few.

Mr. Smith is an active member of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) which recently recognized him as the Entrepreneur of the year in San Diego. He has also been recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs in Nevada, California, and New York. He graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.