Waterloo Region adtech company Sortable has been acquired by a U.S. competitor looking to scale in the digital ad-management space.

Arizona-based Freestar says that Sortable’s technology adds to the company’s existing suite of tools and products, which help content publishers, e-commerce sites and apps increase their revenue through “programmatic advertising” – the automated buying and selling of online advertising.

In an interview, Freestar CEO and President Kurt Donnell said the acquisition provides his company with complementary technology, experienced adtech talent and an enhanced ability to scale.

“The takeaway here is that we really become much bigger overall – a bigger play in the space – but more importantly, (we become) truly the one-stop shop for monetization for publishers,” he said.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Sortable’s 40 employees in Waterloo Region have all been offered employment with Freestar, Donnell said.

Freestar’s Phoenix operation is a fully remote-work environment, but Donnell said he’d like to maintain a presence in Waterloo Region.

“There still is office space in Kitchener right now for the Sortable team, and we anticipate keeping a presence there. I don't know if it will be the exact same office they’re in right now – the lease is up kind of year end – but we absolutely anticipate keeping the presence up there.”

The acquisition boosts Freestar’s workforce to 130 people.

Sortable founder and CEO Chris Reid will help with the transition, said Donnell, but he will not be joining the company.

“Everybody on the executive team is coming over, with the exception of Chris,” he said. “He's in a consulting role, helping us out over time, but he's going to pursue some other opportunities.”

In a news release, Reid said that Sortable and Freestar share similar values and that both are “passionate about helping publishers optimize revenue.

“I am so excited to see what Freestar will be able to accomplish by combining the technology and resources of two of the most well-established companies in the space,” he said.

Sortable’s roots go back to 2009 when Reid launched a startup called Snapsort, a web portal that helped consumers make informed decisions about what they were buying.

He sold the company in 2012, only to buy it back again in 2014. He then transformed it into Sortable, with a new focus on helping the publishers of online content improve their ad revenue by optimizing the automated process for selling online advertising.