Rubicon, the Los Angeles-based digital advertising network, filed its regulatory documents to raise $100 million in an IPO later this year under the ticker RUBI.
I have followed the company, led by a very interesting entrepreneur, Frank Addante, for many years, as it tried to navigate through the ever-changing and always choppy waters of online advertising. Google, for example, is one of its main rivals.
Currently, the longtime startup links buyers and sellers of programmatic digital ads, via its cloud services. Rubicon said the ads it serves are seen by 550 million users across the world, including 96 percent of Internet users in the United States.
As I noted last summer:
Founded in 2007, Rubicon is one of the larger real-time bidding platforms that allows automated buying and selling of global online ads of all kinds, along with a number of other offerings. It’s a crowded space in ad tech world, with a range of startups, such as AppNexus, PubMatic, Turn and others, looking to gain ground, get funding or sell out.
Also looming most prominently is online ad behemoth Google, although, so far, Rubicon has kept up just fine with the search giant and maintains a top spot in the exchange ecosystem.
While Rubicon had contemplated a sale to a bigger player — both Yahoo and Adobe had sniffed around — the public offering route was always Addante’s goal. He owns about 10 percent of the company.
Investors include News Corp. and Clearstone Venture Partners. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and RBC Capital Markets are leading the offering.
It said in its filing that it had $55.7 million in revenue for the nine months ended Sept. 30, losing $9.2 million in that time. Rubicon also said it had lost $62 million since its founding and had 315 employees, nearly doubling in size from a year ago.
Here’s an interesting internal letter he sent to the staff that I kind of enjoyed, due to lines like, “All great revolutions start with a little bit of insanity,” and “Challenge yourself to be uncomfortable, always.”
Here it is in full:
And here is a recent video interview I did with Addante: