Startup Directory


Nic Borensztein ‘10SEAS, Damian Ancukiewicz ‘09SEAS, and Vikaas Sharma ‘10CC have been passionate about entrepreneurship for years.  Shortly after graduation from Columbia they moved to the Bay Area where they developed an innovative video platform that allowed friends in different locations to interact while watching TV together. They moved the product from idea to working demo but were never able to attract the funding required to develop a market and drive user adoption.

The team however did attract the attention of Howard Marks, founder of the StartEngine accelerator, in Los Angles, California.  From there the team built out their advisory board, made several significant strategic pivots and never looked back.

Less than a year after joining StartEngine, a multi-channel audience and content monetization company Adaptive Media, a subsidiary of Mimvi, Inc. (MIMV), announced that it signed a Letter of Intent to acquire the Columbia alumni’s  new company Ember, Inc.

Founded in 2012, Ember is a Demand-Side Platform (DSP) that leverages machine learning algorithms and contextual and semantic engines to bring more transparency to online video advertising placements. Ember’s founding team of Messrs. Borensztein, Ancukiewicz and Sharma, betting on the trend of advertising budgets shifting from television to online video, built a transparent, real-time bidding (RTB) platform which ensures brand safety as well as stronger return on investment (ROI). Ember makes money by taking a percentage of all transactions that flow through its system.

“Advertisers know where their ads are going on TV, but the lack of transparency with online video makes many brands reluctant. That’s why we started Ember,” said Co-Founder & CEO Borensztein. “Our platform puts advertisers in control of where their dollars are spent and optimizes campaigns in real-time to maximize ROI.

According to market research firm eMarketer, the online video advertising market will exceed $4 billion in 2013, and is expected to more than double to $9 billion by 2017. eMarketer expects worldwide digital advertising to exceed $118 Billion dollars this year, and grow to $163 Billion by 2016.