Quantcast, the online advertising firm, will eventually go public, its CEO tells Business Insider. The company will likely file an IPO in less than two years, Konrad Feldman tells us.
Feldman invited BI into his San Francisco HQ last week to talk about the size of his business and where it is going next. The company is best known for its traffic measurement business even though it provides a buying platform for advertisers and a selling platform for publishers.
Currently it has 425 employees and has taken a total of $US65 million in investment funding.
Quantcast has been EBITDA positive in last two years. (EBITDA is a measure of profitability.) Feldman declined to tell us how big is company is in terms of revenues, but he did say, “We’re on a similar scale to many companies that have gone public in the last two years.” One of those companies, Rubicon Project, reported $US84 million in revenues in 2013. Quantcast reportedly had a $US100 million revenue run-rate in 2013, but it’s not clear whether that figure represents net revenue (the money the business keeps) or gross revenue (which includes pass-through billings).
Adtech CEOs have become much more open about admitting their IPO plans of late. The online ad business appears to be entering a new stage: There are those companies who are prepared to take public cash from floating stock on the open market; and there is everybody else. The main advantage of an IPO for adtech companies is the sudden influx of new cash that can be reinvested in the business and allow it to grow faster than if it relied on its existing revenues.
“It’s a very natural step in the progression of building a large and enduring business,” Feldman says. “It’s something that’s in our plans but we don’t feel a need to rush into it either.”
Indeed, he’s aware that once Quantcast is public he’ll have to spend more time defending his business to Wall Street analysts whose grasp of adtech is often tenuous, and less time persuading clients of the counter-intuitive business model that Feldman is built: That in the long-run it’s often cheaper to pay more for your advertising if the customers you get from it spend more with your business.
“The public markets and the currency it provides can be useful,” Feldman says. But, “there’s a potential for distraction there. Short-term scrutiny can get in the way of investing in long-term gains.”
His clients include Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, NBC and The Guardian.
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