Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Tremor Video Kicks Off a Web Ad IPO Wave, but Wall Street Isn’t Excited

blank monitorTremor Video has been heading for an IPO for many years, and today it’s here: The video ad network starts trading on the NYSE this morning under the TRMR ticker.

But ever since Tremor disclosed its financials last month, there have been murmurs that its public offering might be underwhelming, because it doesn’t have a rocket-ship growth story to sell. And yesterday, investors gave that theory more credence by pricing the company at $10 a share, below the $11 to $13 range its bankers had been aiming for.

That still means that the company and its early investors raised $75 million. But there will be a much larger pool of people watching the stock’s performance today and in the coming months.

VCs have been pouring money into digital ad startups for years, with very few big exits (without Google putting its money to work — see AdMob, AdMeld, Invite, etc. — that list would get really, really small). So there are a lot of other digital ad companies waiting in the wings, with plans for their own IPOs.

Figuring out exactly who those companies will be is a little harder than it used to be. That’s because last year’s JOBS act allows companies to partake in “secret IPOs,” where they don’t file public documents until a few weeks before their offering.

Still, industry observers have a long list of likely suspects who make their money selling digital ads, including Criteo, BrightRoll, and YuMe. If you want to get more expansive about the category, you can throw digital publisher Glam Media onto the list, since they’re also proceeding with IPO plans, as Business Insider reported in February.

But if Tremor flatlines or worse, it could make those offerings a tough sell, too.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work