WTR Fireside Chat with AdTheorent CEO James Lawson on 2022 Growth Vectors

  • Water Tower Research hosted James Lawson, CEO of AdTheorent, on December 20, 2021. This was the third in our series of WTR Fireside Chats with AdThorent. We took a deep dive into AdTheorent’s growth vectors for 2022. The event is available on demand, and is open to all investors.
  • MCAP Acquisition Corp. is merging with AdTheorent, a programmatic digital advertising leader using machine-learning (ML) technology and privacy-forward solutions to deliver real-world value for advertisers.
  • Lawson highlighted growth plans beyond connected television (CTV). CTV was discussed on our second fireside chat with Lawson. The CTV Management Series and video are on our website.
  • The company’s major growth efforts are: (1) leveraging its privacy-forward systems as regulations change, (2) focusing on key verticals like pharma and financial services, (3) expanding of ways customers can consume AdTheorent’s products, like Direct Access, and (4) future M&A activity. The company is projecting adjusted gross profit compound annual growth of 28% between 2020 and 2023.
  • AdTheorent's performance-focused, programmatic advertising platform uses ML and data science capabilities to target digital ads without relying on privacy-backward cookies, device IDs and other user profiles. The company’s proprietary suite of tools, methodologies and vertical solutions maximizes campaign performance and ROI for advertisers, while operating in a privacy-forward manner. This has quickly become an essential ingredient for brand marketers worldwide.
  • Revenue for 3Q21 was up 36% YoY, and the company is projecting growth of 28% in 2022 and 26% in 2023. The CTV market is a major revenue driver with nearly 300% growth YoY in 3Q21, and 240% expected in 2022. With 10 years of operating history and a strong track record of financial performance, AdTheorent has proven technology and a market-validated business model that many SPACs lack.
  • See our initiation report and all our reports and videos on AdTheorent on our website.

AdTheorent is a privacy-forward, machine-learning powered programmatic advertising company. Put simply, the company uses machine learning and data science to target digital ads based on non-individualized predictive scores. Sophisticated data-driven advertisers who know digital and expect their digital campaigns to drive tangible business results are its biggest clients.

AdTheorent is improving the digital world for advertisers and consumers. By way of illustration, consider the following: when a consumer accesses content on a device—a mobile device, tablet, or laptop—a content page will render on that device, and that screen will likely contain an opportunity to show an ad, which is called a digital impression.

Advertisers want to know which of these impressions or opportunities to show/serve ads are most likely to yield engagement, conversions, or other advertiser-specified actions by their customers, such as credit card signups, online sales, hotel or airline bookings, whatever action is behind the given ad campaign that the advertiser is trying to drive with those actions. They want to buy the media that are going to do just that.

Behind the scenes, there's a marketplace to buy and sell those ad opportunities. It's an auction system that takes place in microseconds. AdTheorent occupies the demand-side platform silo in this ecosystem, enabling advertisers to purchase digital media and digital ad impressions in real time and one at a time.

The key to AdTheorent’s success is that it has transformed how that is done. AdTheorent uses machine learning and data science as its core method of ad targeting and campaign optimization. This contrasts with cookie-based or other ID-based or user profile-based targeting, which focuses more on individual identities and retargeting users and profiles across the Internet.


John Roy: Well, good morning investors. I am John Roy, Managing Director here at Water Tower Research. And Jim, good to see you again. I know this is our third fireside chat, but for anybody listening in for the first time, it probably makes sense to give a brief overview.

James Lawson: Great. Thanks, John. It’s good to be here again. As a reminder, I’m Jim Lawson. I’m the CEO of AdTheorent. I appreciate the opportunity to tell you a bit about what we’re doing. AdTheorent is a programmatic demand side platform, or DSP, which uses machine learning and data science to predict which advertising media impressions of the billions available for ad placement at any given moment are most likely to drive actual business outcomes for our digital advertiser customers. We do this in a way that is privacy-forward, less focused on targeting users than predicting the performance of media opportunities.

Most of the commonly used ad targeting app...

Large thumb james lawson adtheorent
James Lawson


AdTheorent Holding Company, Inc.

James Lawson is CEO and a member of the Board of Directors at AdTheorent, a programmatic digital advertising leader using advanced machine learning technology and privacy-forward solutions to deliver measurable value for advertisers and marketers. As CEO, James is focused on continuing the company’s aggressive growth, innovation and technology leadership. James has been a part of AdTheorent since its inception, serving in different executive capacities including Managing Partner & General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer. During James’ tenure, the company has grown from a new startup to a publicly traded company and established market leader. AdTheorent’s products and solutions have been recognized regularly with industry accolades such as Frost & Sullivan’s Digital Advertising Leadership Award (six-time recipient), the B.I.G. Innovation Awards, The Drum Digital Advertising Awards and the MMA Smarties. A company that puts a strong emphasis on its people and culture, AdTheorent is also an eight-time recipient of Crain’s Best Places to Work in New York City.

James is an attorney and entrepreneur and has served in executive level capacities with several VC-backed and publicly traded companies. Prior to joining AdTheorent, he co-founded Augme Mobile in 2008, which later became publicly traded Augme Technologies, Inc.

Before turning his focus to technology ventures and emerging businesses, James was a Partner in the Washington, DC office of the law firm McDermott, Will, Emery, LLP, where he represented Fortune 100 companies and growing businesses in both litigation and corporate counseling capacities. James was a Managing Partner of Mogility Capital, one of the initial investors in AdTheorent.

James is a graduate of Bucknell University (1994) and Loyola University Chicago School of Law (1997).


Water Tower Research (“WTR”) is a professional publisher of investment research reports on public companies and, to a lesser extent, private firms (“the Companies”). WTR provides investor-focused content and digital distribution strategies designed to help companies communicate with investors.

WTR is not a registered investment adviser or a broker/dealer nor does WTR provide investment banking services. WTR operates as an exempt investment adviser under the so called “publishers’ exemption” from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. WTR does not provide investment ratings / recommendations or price targets on the companies it reports on. Readers are advised that the research reports are published and provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities or the rendering of investment advice. The information p...