Last year, we began ranking pre-IPO adtech companies by size and importance. Since then, the adtech IPO market has just gotten hotter.
Rubicon Project filed for an IPO, and its stock popped nicely on the first day — making adtech IPOs suddenly much more interesting than they used to be.
And, biggest of all, Pinterest looks like it is gearing up an adtech revenue model — always a pre-IPO sign.
In the last year or so we’ve seen IPOs from Millennial Media, which raised $US130 million, Tremor Video ($75 million), YuMe ($46 million), Rocket Fuel ($116 million), Marin Software ($105 million) and Criteo ($190 million).
This ranking looks at the hotter companies subject to IPO (or at least big exit deal) rumours right now. Our data comes from Crunchbase, LinkedIn, our own reporting and that of other business publications. We’ve tried to rank them by revenues. See our methodology at the end.
CEO: Dipanshu Sharma
Estimated gross revenues: $US65 million, net revenue would be less than that.
Total venture funding: $US24 million
Comment: xAd tracks in-store visits from people who recently saw mobile ads, allowing clients to do hyper-local mobile targeting and location-based 'retargeting' (hitting you with an ad just bceause you were recently near a relevant store).
We believe xAd is profitable. Its clients include Macy's, Home Depot (direct) and YP. xAd also gets revenue from platform partners using xAd for their long tail. More importantly, xAd is the exclusive third-party provider of search and display mobile ads for Waze, Google's new mobile traffic mapping app.
CEO: Simon Khalaf
Estimated revenues: $US100 million
Total venture funding: $US50.5 million
Comment: 'I consider an IPO an entrance,' CEO Simon Khalaf told us. 'We don't have a choice, our volume is too high and our scale is too big for anyone to absorb us.'
CEO: Ragy Thomas
Estimated revenues: unknown.
Total venture funding: $US28 million
Comments: Sprinklr targets large companies that need massive social, CRM and enterprise communications management needs. (In plain English, imagine a company that has a different Twitter account for every single product it market in every single country. Now multiply that across all the other platforms companies need to use to communicate -- LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Global companies can easily end up with hundreds or thousands of social media accounts. Sprinklr's products can sit on top all of, that making them much easier to manage.)
So far, Sprinklr has flown mostly under the radar.
The company acquired The Dachis Group earlier this year for an undisclosed sum. TBG Digital -- one of Facebook's larger ad partners -- is now Sprinklr's de facto Facebook ad-buying arm.
CEO: Jan Rezab
Estimated revenues: $US30 million
Total venture funding: $US34 million
Comment: Socialbakers is one of Facebook's larger international ads partners. It 'would be profitable immediately if we were not investing in scale, growth and international,' Rezab told us. The company is growing its offices in New York and San Francisco (it's based in Prague). SB also has 1,500 clients, including Nestle, Nissan, HP and eBay.
CEO: Yaron Galai
Estimated revenues: $US100 million in 2013
Total venture funding: $US99 million
Comment: This content-recommendation company is expected to file an IPO imminently. It previously hired a CFO with IPO experience. The Israeli press has previously valued Outbrain at $US1 billion, although more recently it said the valuation was a more modest $US350 million.
CEO: Mike Baker
Estimated revenues: $US100 million-plus
Total venture funding: $US60 million
Comment: DataXu CEO Mike Baker tells Business Insider that yes, his online ad-buying company will go public. An IPO is a matter of time -- and timing -- he says.
DataXu is one of the larger independent online ad buyers, or 'demand-side platforms' as they're called in the business. It had revenues of $US87 million in 2012 and was on course to do 'well over' $US100 million in 2013, Baker says. The five-year-old company is one of Facebook's ad exchange partners. It has taken more than $US60 million in venture capital funding, but Baker declines to disclose what valuation DataXu's backers have put on the company.
CEO: Tim Cadogan
Estimated revenues: $US135 million +
Total venture funding: $US75.5 million
Comment: Positions itself as a software-as-a-service platform company that offers ad serving, real-time bidding buying, and publishers. The company hired a new CFO in February, which is frequently a pre-IPO move.
Company says it is profitable and Cadogan tells us he declines to rule out an IPO. The company has taken so much venture funding, however, that a non-IPO exit would require a massive valuation attached to it considering the company's current revenues.
CEO: Mike Cassidy
Estimated revenues: $US200 million
Total venture funding: $US40 million
Comment: Undertone is an unusual company in adtech in that it is not concerned so much with automating the process. Rather, it has a creative, media and tech platform that allows advertisers to create one video campaign that will work across all screens. The company has added nearly 60 staffers since we last placed them on this list.
CEO Cassidy says Undertone has been profitable since it was bootstrapped at its founding in 2002. He doesn't rule out an IPO, but says it's 'better to be a private company today.' Our sources tell us that an IPO is one option on the table.
CEO: Rajeev Goel
Estimated revenues: unknown
Total venture funding: $US76 million
Comment: PubMatic offers publishers a real-time bidding media sales platform. It reportedly hired banks to advise it on an IPO valuing the company at $US1 billion in February. It hired a CFO with IPO experience in late 2011.
CEO: Yoav Izhar-Prato
Estimated revenues: Unknown
Total venture funding: $US50 million
Comment: Kenshoo took another $US20 million investment funding in April.
CEO has claimed that Kenshoo handles $US25 billion in spending through its search, local marketing, and social media platforms. Kenshoo is also one of Facebook's FBX ad exchange partners, and probably one of Facebook's single biggest ad spending clients generally.
Kenshoo is also the single biggest buyer of Google shopping (PLA) ads, according to Jefferies Research. Kenshoo runs ads for 40% of the top 50 e-retailers.
CEO: Aaron Bell
Revenues: $150 million
Total venture funding: $US89 million
Comment: The company recently took a $US70 million round of investment funding. Levi's, Salesforce, and Skullcandy have been among its 15,000 clients. Techcrunch wrote recently:
AdRoll and its investors are not disclosing the company's valuation in the wake of the new funding, but Charles Moldow, a general partner at Foundation who has helped advise the company for years now, says that it puts AdRoll on par with other major ad tech companies on the market today such as Criteo. As of right now, publicly traded Criteo has a market cap of $US2.17 billion.
CEO: Scott Ferber
Estimated revenues: ~$200 million in 2013
Total venture funding: $130 million
Comment: Videology has taken such a massive amount of funding that it's hard to see how the company's investors will get a premium on their equity without an IPO. Ferber has recently denied he intends to go public. (Of course, the mere fact that he's being asked that question is all part of the dance ...) But he told Business Insider recently that the company would be 'prepared' to IPO in 2015 if need be, even though a decision on whether to do that has not yet been made.
CEO: Joe Apprendi
Revenue: ~$200 million (net revenue is a fraction of that)
Total venture funding: $US56 million
Comment: The company has taken a lot less funding than its peers, making its exit strategy for the remaining shareholders likely a lot more lucrative, ultimately. We believe the company is profitable. 'We're one of the few companies in Silicon Alley that actually pays taxes!' Apprendi tells us.
Collective will soon move its HQ into the old New York Times building.
CEO: Bill Demas
Revenues: $500 million, estimated.
Total venture funding: $US138 million
Comment: The company recently raised an $US80 million investment round. Demas was coy about going public when he talked to Business Insider: 'I wouldn't rule anything out. We're always open to any potential option.'
He also told Techcrunch: 'I don't have a crystal ball. Our focus is on building a great company. Obviously, a fund raise like this allows us to have more flexibility about when we go public.'
The company has reportedly been valued at as much as $US750 million.
CEO: Brian O'Kelley
Estimated revenues: Greater than $US50 million, and maybe as much as $US200 million.
Total venture funding: $US141 million
Comment: AppNexus handles at least $US700 million in adspend a year, and probably greater than that at this point. Given the size of its employee headcount, the publicly cited revenue number of $US50 million-plus seems very low. The company is such a big handler of online ads that it may be too big to be acquired, which is why it is the subject of constant IPO rumours.
It's probably twice the size of Rubicon Project, which went public with annual revenues of around $US112 million based on its Q4 numbers.
CEO: Naveen Tewari
Estimated revenues: $US372 million
Total venture funding: $US216 million
Comment: InMobi is now one of the largest mobile ad businesses that has not gone public. Our back-of-the-envelope maths suggests InMobi's annual revenues could be ~$372 million annually. IDC puts InMobi's U.S. revenue alone at ~$40 million. Note that the company is not likely to be profitable, based on its employee base and this revenue estimate.
Also, investors may have soured on mobile ad network IPOs following the Velti disaster.
We looked at the following factors when we adjust our ranking and publish a new version of the list:
Revenues: This is the single most important factor in our ranking. Companies with robust businesses have revenues they can talk about in dollars (not blind percentage 'growth' claims). Companies that are modest about their revenues are usually modest for good reason.
Total employees: Companies tend to hire more people because they're handling more business. Headcount is a good proxy for growth.
Funding: Investors tend to want their money back. So companies that have taken a lot of investment funding are under greater pressure to IPO than those that have not.
Reputation: It's great that some companies like to grow quietly without the distraction of the media spotlight -- we're happy to ignore them.