District M & Sharethrough have entered a definitive agreement to merge

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Today marks a new chapter as we announce that District M & Sharethrough, both in the digital advertising landscape, have entered a definitive agreement to merge and become one of the leading independent omnichannel ad exchanges.

The vision behind the merger is anchored in a user-centric, respectful, quality-first approach, with a goal to build on, challenge and enhance the modern internet experience. As we become more and more connected in the digital world, consumer behavior is evolving at a faster pace than ever before. Together, District M & Sharethrough are built for the future of ad tech.

A new chapter with a combined vision

The last decade has seen a significant increase in the consumption of digital media across all channels, and this trend will likely continue in the future. Riding this wave together, the companies aim to strengthen their omnichannel and omniformat market offering with native, display & video on desktop, mobile and connected TV. District M & Sharethrough also recognize the need for change in the digital advertising ecosystem: advertisers and agencies wish to redesign their supply chains by choosing qualified and trusting partners, while publishers are reprioritizing their monetization capabilities with an eye towards scale, uniqueness, and quality. With a combined network of over 40k publisher websites and apps, the merger will prioritize work to enhance every impression for a better performance in the supply chain.

Native ad format

The new strengthened omnichannel offer sets the table to scale, allowing publishers and advertisers to maximize their reach across the open web. Combined with the strengths of a unified Product & Tech team, clients will gain access to efficient and successful technologies, constantly re-inventing and bettering themselves to exceed market standards. The merger will allow both companies to better serve their clients and to invest in continued customer-centric, human-centric growth initiatives, honoring their shared vision.

A strong set of values to set the path for success

As companies, District M & Sharethrough share strong values, which are anchored in teamwork, transparency and the drive to innovate. Above all, the new combined vision seeks to put the human first, which offers a new opportunistic value to publishers and advertisers alike, one that is rare across the industry. The merge between both companies is a mandate to prove that human-centric advertising can scale, all while respecting user experience.

By pursuing their focus on delivering enhanced ads on quality inventory, District M & Sharethrough together have the ability to become the largest independent ad exchange. Thanks to its omnichannel capabilities, its data-powered engines and cloud infrastructures, there is no doubt the combined ad exchange is built to scale. Furthermore, both companies believe the market is finally ready to celebrate the value of independent technology companies that work in concert with the giant duopolies, providing competition that pushes the industry forward. As investors recognize the immense value creation in the digital media industry, the companies are ready to push forward and lead the future, as they are built to be.

Display ad format: Tap-to-locate

District M & Sharethrough: History in the making

The companies have similar backgrounds as startups in ad tech. District M was created in 2013 by 5 industry-veterans who united in the basement of a building. Sharethrough, founded in 2008, was also created in an apartment complex by 2 former Stanford graduate students, sharing an interest in human-centric advertising.

Since then, Sharethrough, the first company to coin the term “native”, has developed one of the strongest offers in native advertising across the industry, making them pioneers of the seamless advertising format. The company helps the world’s largest marketers and trading desks deliver display and video campaigns across the highest performing native placements, delivering 50 billion monthly impressions. 

On the other hand, District M has created a transparent and flexible programmatic ecosystem for advertisers and publishers, rising to the top 10 ad exchanges in the world. Since 2013, District M’s expansion in the market is proven by the growth of its revenues and strong investors supporting its hyper growth model.

Fast forward to 2021, the combined entity created by District M & Sharethrough has over 140 talented employees across 8 offices in the US & Canada.


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One of the first, scaled mergers done virtually

No, there are no “ah, ha!” moments behind the story of the merger. In fact, JF Cote, Co-founder and CEO of District M and Dan Greenberg, Co-founder and CEO of Sharethrough, met frequently during virtual meetings over the last few months. “We are glad to have spent countless hours on virtual platforms discussing the future, as it allowed us to get to know each other well, in the comforts of our homes with no interruptions,” said JF Cote, “We were able to build a strong culture of transparency and purpose without ever meeting in person, and we hope to continue in the same direction with the merging of our teams. A team that we, of course, are very eager to meet and work with!”

District M & Sharethrough, both privately held companies, realized their complimentary offerings and synergies between the teams would sync perfectly, an opportunity which Dan Greenberg believes is a “win-win collaboration for a brighter future”. With his strong background in finance and operational thinking, JF Cote will lead the company as CEO, while Dan Greenberg, bringing a highly perceptive, visionary and customer-focused approach to the table, will become President of the company. Both of them, alongside their talented leadership team, believe this transition will produce the best results, synergies, and growth opportunities for the combined entity.

The future of ad tech is here, and it’s exciting!

From now on, District M & Sharethrough’s motto is to power forward on a scaled and direct exchange, built on proprietary technology. Together, the companies have a complete and qualified portfolio of partners, including demand-side platforms and publishers, allowing advertisers to further scale their campaigns. The future is bright, and, most importantly, built on respect and care with privacy for the user at the core of customer experience. As a combined entity, the priority is growth and financial efficiency, and the companies are well aligned to succeed and prosper in the right direction.

The merger agreement also marks a milestone for both companies, as they bring two teams of incredible talent together, scaling both our commercial footprint and our innovations in Product and Tech. This will allow them to drive innovation as well as continuously re-invent and better their proprietary technologies. They expect both teams to work seamlessly, on a virtual basis, a practice they have perfected in the last few months.

Together, District M & Sharethrough hope to take their customer-first, human-centric offer to the open web. With Sharethrough’s Silicon Valley mindset, culture and technology, and District M’s fast-paced, efficient, and result-oriented focus, there are no limits. We’re more than excited for what’s to come, and we sure hope you are too.

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