The Trade Desk Files S1, Raises Industry Hopes for Ad Tech Success on the Public Markets

Trade DeskDemand-side platform The Trade Desk announced yesterday that it is going public and filed a registration statement on Form S-1 in advance of its initial public offering (IPO). The company hopes to raise $86.3 million on the public markets, where The Trade Desk will be listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “TTD.”

The Trade Desk has  provides a self-service multichannel platform that works across all digital formats. The company has carved out a valuable part of the market for itself by remaining steadfastly self-service, which is something the markets should appreciate as the ratio of head count to revenue is something that is often factored into share valuations.

Commenting on the announcement, one industry insider said “For many agencies The Trade Desk will be the logical alternative to Google’s DBM. By avoiding the temptation to go direct to clients and committing to agency relationships, they’ve been able to scale with key players like Xaxis and Amnet.”

Other ad tech companies have high hopes for The Trade Desk’s IPO, as well as the Appnexus who are expected to follow suit. While both companies have different offerings, there are parallels: an exceptionally strong focus on self-service, deeply embedded relationships with their partners and a history of solid business performance.

The ad tech space needs a lift as many of the companies who have gone public up until now have been struggling to maintain their value. As ad tech is so complex, it makes it difficult to work out whether Wall Street fails to understand ad tech, or if ad tech fails to understand Wall Street.

Below are some graphs showing how some of the best known ad tech companies have performed since going public i.e. please note that the data in each chart isn’t for the same time period of time, not to mention the fact that most of the companies also have very different offerings, so best not to compare them on an ‘apples to apples’ basis:

Criteo have been the most solid performer since going public.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 09.34.28

Up until very recently, TubeMogul’s shares have been performing reasonably well, although the company recently saw a dip after a disappointing Q2 which TubeMogul CEO Brett Wilson attributed to the fact that the transition from desktop to mobile accelerated beyond TubeMogul’s expectations.


Anyone who has invested in The Rubicon Project has seen their shares fall by more than half since their peak, with their most recently slide attributed to being late to header bidding:

Rubicon Project Share Price

Tremor and YuMe have both been on a steady downward trajectory. That said, both were late to programmatic and in developing their self-service options, so it’s going to be interesting to see how these companies recover (same could be said for Rubicon as they progress with header bidding):

Tremor Share Price

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 09.33.47

Rocket Fuel’s shares peaked at $66.43, but now can be picked up for as little as $3.

Rocket Fuel

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