Digiday contributor Ari Paparo recently posted an article predicting the ad tech IPO market for 2014. TubeMogul was not included on the list. Read the full story here.
Paparo is 6-3 for his 2013 predictions (pretty good), but he admits that 2014 is a lot murkier. “I think there are far more companies contemplating going out, but most of them are on the smaller side and may have a harder time making a successful offering.” Paparo offers that right now there are at least 10 private ad tech companies with gross revenue of around $75-$125 million which makes the IPO market much harder to predict.
While Paparo’s list of wills and will-nots is sound, there are some interesting picks, one of which is TubeMogul which appears in the will-not section. Paparo believes that TubeMogul will see YuMe and Tremor’s performance in 2013 as a deterrent from taking the company public, and might look for an M&A deal instead; but there are some signs that I think point to a publicly traded TubeMogul by end of 2014.
(What is TubeMogul? Read here.)
First, TubeMogul picked up Chip Scovic as their CRO in June of this year, indicating revenue as a priority. Previously, Scovic was head of Google’s Media Platforms business and also led ad sales for Yahoo Video. (read more). Secondly, a TubeMogul press release earlier this month reported that the company is now at a revenue rate of $100 million this year and is on track to more than double this figure in 2014.
Think back to the Facebook and Twitter IPOs of this year. With Facebook’s IPO being arguably disastrous, many believed Twitter would hold off on going public and wait until there was more investor confidence in social advertising. But Larry flew onto the trading floor faster than some people thought, and in the end, it wasn’t all that surprising.
In December of 2012, Mike Isaac for AllThingsD wrote in an article, “While an initial public offering is still far down the road for Twitter, perhaps sometime in 2014 at best, it seems the company wants its house in order now.” Isaac was referring to a then recent shuffle of two of its highest-ranking execs, moving Ali Rowghani from his position of CFO to COO, while moving recent hire and former Zynga treasurer Mike Gupta into the CFO seat. The article goes on to look at the structure of the company including the tech, design, and sales teams, among others. Isaac recognized (along with many others) that the move meant something big was coming, “…if you’re a business on a trajectory with an IPO in a few years or less, perhaps Twitter is right where it needs to be.”
Of course, a few years turned out to be a few months. Even in the face of the flawed Facebook IPO, Twitter announced their intention to go public in September and quickly hit the market in November. Once they announced, many of the same people who claimed that the filing would come later in 2014 turned around and said it actually wasn’t that much of a surprise. Isaac wrote on the day of the announcement, “In hindsight, the timing of Twitter’s filing has been foreshadowed by its actions.”
So if TubeMogul goes public, will it be a big surprise? Maybe, but I think there is evidence to think it’s fairly possible. Either way, 2014 looks to be an exciting year for ad tech.