(WSJ Feature – Dec 16, 2021)
New York-based Rokt says its technology is used by more than 3,000 companies including Wayfair Inc., Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and Fanatics Inc. to personalize e-commerce offers for consumers.
The funding round, led by investment firm Tiger Global Management, values the company at US$1.95 billion, Rokt said. A round last year valued the company at about $450 million. Rokt is targeting an initial public offering in the U.S. in 2023, Chief Executive Bruce Buchanan said.
Rokt said it expects to finish the year with US$230 million in revenue, up from US$100 million last year, when business from marketers in travel and entertainment was hurt by the pandemic. However, the pandemic also encouraged consumers’ adoption of e-commerce, creating more opportunities for Rokt’s services in the long run, the company has said.
Privacy changes, including one introduced by Apple Inc. earlier this year, restricting how users are tracked on mobile devices has created another tailwind, Mr. Buchanan said.
“That has meant businesses like ourselves that help first-party [data] companies like Ticketmaster use their own data in a smarter way, have really flourished,” Mr. Buchanan said. “This world of handing your data out to a lot of third-party players and not knowing where it goes is disappearing very quickly. Yet marketers still want to reach audiences, and the number of channels is less and less all the time.”
The company has investors in the Asia-Pacific region, Mr. Buchanan said, but didn’t have many major investors in the U.S. before the new round, which also included Wellington Management, Whale Rock Capital Management, Pavilion Capital and existing shareholder Square Peg.
Mr. Buchanan said having investors in the region should benefit an IPO in numerous ways, including helping others understand Rokt’s business.
“We wanted to do one big final round to get our shareholders aligned to U.S. capital markets,” he said.
There has been a streak of deals and public offerings from companies in the advertising- and marketing-technology industry. Viant Technology Inc., AppLovin Corp. and DoubleVerify Holdings Inc. have gone public in 2021, among a slew of others.
Rokt plans to use the funding in part to make acquisitions, with a focus on companies that operate in e-commerce but in different geographies, industries or customer segments than Rokt does so far.
The company also plans to invest in research and development and in hiring. The company employs nearly 400 people, with plans to grow staff to more than 550 in 2022.
This funding makes Rokt Australia’s third largest private technology company behind Canva and Airwallex, and is a testament to the hard work of Bruce and all the Rokt team. The funding is also the largets ever growth round for any Australian company. Click below for the Australian coverage.