17. xAd: GOOGLE'S WAZE PARTNER HAS TAKEN $24M IN FUNDING
CEO: Dipanshu Sharma
Estimated gross revenues: $65 million, net revenue would be less than that.
Total venture funding: $24 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.
16. FLURRY: TOO BIG TO NOT GO PUBLIC
CEO: Simon Khalaf
Estimated revenues: $100 million
Total venture funding: $50.5 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."
15. SPRINKLR: FLYING UNDER THE RADAR
CEO: Ragy Thomas
Estimated revenues: unknown.
Total venture funding: $28 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.
14. SOCIALBAKERS: FACEBOOK'S INTERNATIONAL AD PARTNER
CEO: Jan Rezab
Estimated revenues: $30 million
Total venture funding: $34 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.
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 $87 million in 2012 and was on course to do "well over" $100 million in 2013, Baker says. The five-year-old company is one of Facebook's ad exchange partners. It has taken more than $60 million in venture capital funding, but Baker declines to disclose what valuation DataXu's backers have put on the company.
11. OPENX: DOES NEW CFO SIGNAL AN IPO IS COMING?
CEO: Tim Cadogan
Estimated revenues: $135 million +
Total venture funding: $75.5 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.
10. UNDERTONE: IPO NOT RULED OUT
CEO: Mike Cassidy
Estimated revenues: $200 million
Total venture funding: $40 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.
Comment: Kenshoo took another $20 million investment funding in April.
CEO has claimed that Kenshoo handles $25 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.
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 $2.17 billion.
Revenue: ~$200 million (net revenue is a fraction of that)
Total venture funding: $56 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.
Comment: The company recently raised an $80 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 $750 million.
Comment: AppNexus handles at least $700 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 $50 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 rumors.
It's probably twice the size of Rubicon Project, which went public with annual revenues of around $112 million based on its Q4 numbers.
2. INMOBI: PROBABLY THE BIGGEST NON-PUBLIC MOBILE AD BUSINESS ON THE PLANET
CEO: Naveen Tewari
Estimated revenues: $372 million
Total venture funding: $216 million
Comment: InMobi is now one of the largest mobile ad businesses that has not gone public. Our back-of-the-envelope math 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.
1. PINTEREST: ON THE SAME TRACK AS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
CEO: Ben Silbermann
Estimated revenues: unknown.
Total venture funding: $338 million
Comment: Pinterest is about to launch its Ads API, the portal that will allow adtech companies to plug in to the Pinterest platform and begin serving ads at Pinterest users. Notably, both Facebook and Twitter did the same thing months before their IPOs. Pinterest already provides up to a quarter of all incoming traffic to online retail and e-commerce sites.
METHODOLOGY: HOW THIS LIST IS RANKED
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.