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Jumptap raises $27.5M to prep for IPO

With $27.5 million in new funding, Jumptap CEO George Bell said the mobile advertising company could go public within a year.

The new financing round — which included existing investors General Catalyst Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Summerhill Ventures, Valhalla Partners, and WPP, as well as new investors Keating Capital and a large institutional investor — brings to the company’s total amount raised since launching in 2004 to $121.5 million.

“[The new funding] is an endorsement… that mobile advertising will continue to be a very fast-growing and large market,” said George Bell, Jumptap’s CEO.

Last month, Ad Age reported that Amazon had looked at Jumptap as a potential purchase. When asked if Jumptap’s news today meant that the acquisition buzz should be put to rest, Bell said “a rumor is rumor.”

In April, competitor Millennial Media made its public debut. After a first-day pop, in which the stock price nearly doubled, shares in the company have slowly trended downward, back to its opening price. Bell said he thinks Millennial’s performance has been positive and takes it as an encouraging sign for his own company.

“I think they’ve held up very handsomely in this kind of market,” he said, adding that he thinks the public markets will be receptive to more than one kind of mobile advertising company. “[As a public company], we’ll have two currencies – stock and cash – from which to grow even faster,” he said. “As long as we can continue to grow at market or above-market rates, I think we’ll also be a successful IPO story.”

Through its network of mobile publishers and apps, Jumptap helps advertisers reach 107 million monthly mobile users in the U.S. and 156 million mobile users worldwide. In the near term, Bell said, the company will focus on improving targeting, primarily by increasing its staff in product and engineering. As an ad network, Jumptap doesn’t control its inventory, so to understand audience behavior, it’s had to rely on third-party and first-party data from partners, he said. In the past year, the company has enhanced its targeting ability through partnerships with more than 20 third-party data providers, such as Acxiom, Polk and TARGUSinfo. Bell said they plan to expand those kinds of partnerships.

Between 2010 and 2011, mobile advertising spending in the U.S. increased 89 percent to reach $1.45 billion last year, according to eMarketer. This year, the research firm expects it will grow another 80 percent to $2.61 billion. Despite the significant growth in mobile advertising, marketers continue to be concerned with privacy, fragmentation and the lack of standardized metrics. Mobile advertising is a small slice of the $169.5 billion eMarketer expects advertisers will spend across all media this year.

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