AdTech Pioneer

Mike Downey began his adtech career in Los Angeles in 1996 — the industry’s Paleozoic Era, when “sophisticated adtech” meant America Online carpet-bombing the country with CD-ROMs. His professional journey got an ironic start: He landed his first job after replying to a print ad in the Los Angeles Times.


He has spent the ensuing two decades building some of adtech’s most notable companies, including Overture (creators of paid search), OpenX (pioneers of real-time bidding) and Whisper (an anonymous social-networking application). Most recently, before cofounding Plush Digital, Mike did a tour of duty in the social-media salt mines, opening the L.A. office of Bay Area Facebook advertising pioneer Ampush.


Mike used to consider himself a gifted ping-pong player until his recent humbling at the (grizzled and liver-spotted) hands of a 78-year-old woman at the senior center in Pasadena — a street-style beatdown from which he’s still recuperating. He’s an avid music fan, a food adventurer and a lifelong student of the Spanish language.


He lives with his lovely wife, Suzanne, and their two noisy children, Jackson and Devin, in Sherman Oaks, California. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MBA from Pepperdine’s Graziado School of Business and Management.

work-life balance

Where can we find you on the weekends?

Exploring the culinary wilderness that is Los Angeles.

Favorite Workout:

Emma Lovewell's 30 Minute Groove Peloton Ride

Tacos or Burritos?

Tacos. I have been studying the art of taco craft since I was a child growing up in LA.