Taking On The Giants – How Squads Teams Built A Complete Mediation Platform From Scratch


In early 2020 mobile in-game advertising mediation was dominated by a few very large companies, MoPub, AppLovin and, IironSource had > 90% of the market share and were starting to play dirty. These mediation platforms started publishing their own games and other publishers were getting suspicious about whether the platforms could be fair if they had incentive to offer the best demand to their own games while at the same time seeing all of the relevant data from 3rd party advertising networks that compete directly against their own advertising. At the same time a drastic change was beginning to take hold in the industry, real-time bidding. These two events signalled fertile soil for disruption.

Enter Aequus

Aequus was formed by two industry veterans with the idea to provide an independent and transparent mediation platform with real-time bidding as a first class citizen feature. With potential customers already in line they needed to have a working product as soon as possible. The founders had worked with Squads on a different project and were familiar with our ability to organise senior engineers with product experience to manage the complexity of building a completely new mediation platform. Starting with design and architecture discussions in late June 2020, Aequus was ready to enter production by April 2021 with a complete publisher facing portal, a configuration server for millions of user devices and a real time bidding exchange that was able to scale from 20 auctions per second to 2 million in just minutes, all built by several teams from Squads.

Squads' Contribution

The partnership between Aequus and Squads started from just an idea to a production ready complex system. Several teams were involved, each team with their own specialty. 

The Infrastructure

The infrastructure team started working on the system design and deployment plans from the very beginning. Two engineers set up a fault tolerant, scalable, and secure clusters for three separate work environments. Each change in the system was continuously tested and could be either automatically or with a push of a button deployed or rollbacked.

The Services

The backend team was present from the idea phase through the system design and planning with the Infrastructure team and created a complete data design which was populated by the Portal API with the configuration choices of Publisher clients, the configuration was served in an optimised manner to millions of mobile devices in just a few milliseconds by the Configuration servers, and with that configuration devices would request the Aequus exchange run auctions in real time and receive bids from up to 10 external bidders, with each auction chasing a goal of completing in less than 200ms. Squads was instrumental in not just providing the experienced engineers but also enabled Aequus to quickly scale the team from 2 engineers to 6 at one time and scale back down as needed.

The Portal

The frontend team managed to take the task of creating a complex UI with tons of options and create an intuitive experience that allows clients to both quickly set up their games and start experimenting, and also fine tune lots of knobs and shifts. It’s in the portal that the collaboration between the founders and the team really came to shine. The team was available to Aequus for daily discussions, iterations, and feedback. The result was a gorgeous landing page, a snappy portal and clean developer documentation. 


With Aequus, the teams at Squads managed to build a system with the goal to tackle industry giants. We had clear, high performance goals and felt pride in what we achieved. Aequus onboarded multiple publishers with several games from their inventory. During a very turbulent time in the industry and major mergers (between Unity Ads and ironSource, Applovin and MoPub) Aequus thrived and was later acquired by Moloco in October 2022. Moloco recognized the potential and decided to invest in the value that Aequus and Squads built together.

Andy Ulery photo


I have had the pleasure of working with the Squads team on more than a few projects. When my co-founder and I were deciding on the best and fastest means to get our mediation product to market I immediately looked to Squads. This is not an "outsourced" development house, but rather a group of ready made and very experienced teams that can handle any type of challenge we threw at them during the build of the Aequus platform. What is most unique in my opinion is Squads ability to scale up (and down if needed) throughout the project to handle new product updates and the myriad of changes that inevitably come up during the build stage of a new business. If we needed something done faster during a sprint, the Squads team deftly added additional team members to ensure timelines were met. Finally, Squads was able to seamlessly work with our mobile development team to get our highly complex, data heavy advertising technology platform ready for deployment in about 6 months from the first code being written. At no time did we look at the Squads members as anything but part of our team and for a super lean startup, that means a ton.

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Andy Ulery