Adtech firm Collective has long been rumoured to be a candidate for an IPO. So when we got a chance to visit CEO Joe Apprendi in his midtown office recently, we put the question directly to him.
As with all CEOs who are considering taking their companies public, he dodged the question but admitted it was a consideration.
“We want to be one of those companies that can meet and beat expectations when we do decide to public, if that’s the best path,” he said. He says Collective’s finances are approaching the level of “predictability” that allows companies to thrive when they sell stock on the open market.
Currently, Apprendi says, the company is doing about $US200 million a year in net revenues. It’s also profitable, and Apprendi is fond of joking that unlike his rivals in the adtech business, his company actually pays taxes because of it.
Collective has just over 400 employees and will move offices to the old New York Times building in Times Square in the next few months in order to accommodate their growth. “We intend to organically double in size every three to four years,” Apprendi says. About half the company’s global staff are in New York.
That puts Collective at the same level as AppNexus, Turn, Kenshoo and Pubmatic, which all have about 400 staffers or more. If headcount is a proxy for the size of their client portfolios, then all those companies would be bigger than Rubicon Project, which went public with about 315 employees.
Collective counts 76 of the top 100 advertisers as clients buying digital media across a range of venues and formats. Their accounts grow at about 30% per year, Apprendi says.