Sorry. This page is not yet translated.
01
33

When we met AdMob, the company was a one-man operation run by its unknown student-founder in Philadelphia. Seventy-two hours later, we had a term sheet.

Omar and Jim tell the story.

Omar Hamoui
Founder, AdMob

I didn't know VCs, I didn't know how to talk to VCs. I didn’t even know that I could talk to VCs. AdMob was my fifth company, and the previous four were all bootstrapped.

Jim Goetz
Sequoia Capital

Omar was at Wharton at the time. He had started the company, they were already up and serving ads. He was doing maybe a couple thousand a month in revenue, but with a nice ramp that you could measure day over day.

Omar Hamoui

VCs had started reaching out to me — which was super exciting — but the conversations were just dragging on. They’d started in February and gone into April, and I was urgently trying to raise money before the summer.

Jim Goetz

So it’s May — he wasn’t done with finals yet — and we were introduced through a gentleman named Ali Diab, who was an early Yahoo employee.

Omar Hamoui

I asked my friend Sharif El Badawi for his thoughts on the company, and he connected me with Ali. He told me I should talk to Sequoia, and I didn't want to, because I finally had a term sheet. It was terrible, but I had one. This was on a Tuesday and my other term sheet was going to blow up on Friday, and I just thought, “I'm not ready to talk to Sequoia. And there's no way they would fund this between Tuesday and Friday if all these other people took this long, so why waste the time?"

Jim Goetz

We were interested right away. Omar had a very contrarian view of the mobile ecosystem that nobody had positioned to the partnership before. And when you roll the clock forward, he was spot on.

Omar Hamoui

Then Jim called. He knew about AdMob, he knew about me, he knew the previous companies I had done — which was all surprising. And he basically said, before I’d even met him, "Look, if we were to put in this much at this valuation, would you do that?" And I said, "Yeah, I probably would — but I don't have that much time." And he said, "We’ll figure that out."

Jim Goetz

In three days’ time we decided we wanted to back him, and we offered him the opportunity to come and sit with us and build out the company in our offices.

Omar Hamoui

It was Wednesday that we had that phone call, and I flew out on Thursday. I met everybody and made sure all the partners had a chance to see it. They gave me a term sheet on Friday. They knew my situation, and Jim was able to orchestrate it to get it done.

Jim Goetz

Omar was mature beyond his years. He got peppered with a bunch of questions within the partnership that I’d have thought would rattle him — that would have rattled most entrepreneurs. But he was very calm, and was able to articulate his position clearly and with a level of fidelity that few founders have. It was easy for us to get comfortable backing him.

Omar Hamoui

I told Penn that I was taking a leave of absence and moved here to be incubated at the Sequoia offices, then started holding interviews there and hiring people. We were at Sequoia for about eight months, until the team was seven or eight people.

Jim Goetz

There’s a comfort level and a trust that comes from incubation that’s pretty special. You become, almost without question, that founder’s first phone call, and the brutal honesty that develops on the boards of those companies is something you rarely see elsewhere.

Omar Hamoui

It became a very, very close relationship. Jim was with me for four pretty intense years with the company and — especially as a lone founder — you don’t have anyone you can talk to about certain things. So for advice, counseling, therapy, that really ended up being Jim for me. There were others on the board but Jim was first, and he’d always been there.

As the first self-serve mobile advertising network AdMob was well positioned for the coming rise of smartphones and transition to mobile computing. Admob was acquired by Google in May 2010 and has grown to a billion dollar business. Omar Hamoui joined Sequoia as a partner in 2013.

AdMob
A pay-per-click mobile advertising marketplace that monetizes your apps intelligently.
Milestones
  • Founded 2006
  • Partnered 2006
  • Acquired 2010
Team
  • Omar Hamoui
Partner