The Download: Jud Bowman, Founder and CEO, Sift Media

Jud is a serial entrepreneur who has started three companies so far: Motricity, Appia, and now Sift Media.

Jud co-founded his first company, Motricity, as a high school senior at the North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics. He soon took an indefinite leave of absence from Stanford and helped grow Motricity to more than $100M in annual revenue and 500 employees. Motricity’s platform delivered more than $3B of ringtones and games to mobile phones. Investors included NEA, TCV, Carl Icahn, Noro-Moseley Partners, and Wakefield Group. Motricity successfully completed a $50M IPO co-led by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and achieved a market capitalization as high as $1.25B.

He then founded his second start-up, Appia, in 2008 and raised $30M in venture capital from investors including Venrock, Trident Capital, Eric Schmidt’s TomorrowVentures, Relay Ventures, Noro-Moseley Partners, and Wakefield Group. Appia’s mobile user acquisition network for Android and iOS delivered more than 100 million app installs for hundreds of advertisers, including 60 of the 100 top-grossing apps on the App Store and Google Play. Appia was acquired by Digital Turbine (Nasdaq: APPS) in March 2015 for approximately $100 million.

Jud founded his third start-up, Sift Media, in 2015 around the idea that the unique set of apps each of us has installed on our smartphones is like a digital fingerprint of who we are and our interests. The company “sifts” through 50 billion mobile ad requests daily, leveraging advanced AI and machine-learning algorithms to hyper-target app install ads for its clients. To date, Sift Media has served 60 billion mobile ads and delivered 30 million app installs for thousands of advertisers. Sift Media is backed by $3.25M in venture capital from investors including Wakefield Group, Piedmont Capital, Alerion Ventures, and IDEA Fund Partners.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Research Triangle Foundation and as a Trustee of the North Carolina Symphony.

What is in your pockets?
My wallet, the key to my old Land Rover, keyfob to the American Underground [where Sift Media is based] and downtown YMCA, and my Samsung Android smartphone.

What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?
Sift Media was just named to the Triangle Business Journal’s 2019 Fast 50 honoring the 50 fastest-growing privately held companies in the Triangle. I feel like we’ve kept our heads down and stayed pretty focused on building our product the past three years, so it’s a cool honor to be recognized for our revenue and profit growth among some of the great companies here in the Triangle.

What is your favorite coffee spot?
We live and work in downtown Durham, and my favorite coffee spot is Cocoa Cinnamon on Geer Street. Love the vibe there.

What keeps you up at night?
Our little daughter, Edith! She just turned 2 years old and keeps us up some nights, although she is sleeping pretty well these days.

Sift Media team

What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?
About a block down Geer Street from Cocoa Cinnamon is Hutchins Garage. I’m crazy about their margherita pizza! There are a lot of amazing pizza places in Durham and the Triangle, but this one is the winner for me right now.

What is next for you or your organization?
In 2019, Sift Media reached a couple of milestones. We’ve now served more than 60 billion mobile ads and delivered 30 million app installs for thousands of advertisers. We also surpassed 100 clients and reached record revenue. We’re very excited for what is in store for 2020!

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About Brooks Malone 28 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and HQ Raleigh.