AppNexus CEO Brian O'Kelley told Ad Age this summer that his company had about $30 million in the bank, and so it would only take on more investment if it came across the perfect opportunity. Apparently, AppNexus found it.
The company announced today that it raised a $75 million Series D funding round led by Technology Crossover Ventures. The size of the round suggested that some of it might go to the management team, employees or previous investors. In a blog post, Mr. O'Kelley said "we decided not to take any money for management or employee liquidity, as we see huge upside opportunity over the next few years." But in an interview today, he conceded after some prodding that some early investors may sell parts of their stake. "We may allow that," he said, "but it's extremely nominal if it happens."
Mr. O'Kelley told Ad Age today that the new money will allow the company to add 400 employees this year to its current staff of 410. The funds will also be used to aggressively develop technologies that AppNexus hopes will bring some of the automation from the real-time bidding world to reserved ad inventory most often sold by salespeople.
AppNexus also has the money to become a bigger player in acquisitions, with Mr. O'Kelley saying that it would look for opportunities for acquiring the staff from other companies, rather than the actual businesses. Mr. O'Kelley said his company was previously "interested" in a deal for Microsoft's Atlas ad server, but "didn't get a deal done." "I expected an announcement by now of something," he said.
TCV's David Yuan will join the company's board, and will be expected to open doors in Silicon Valley previously closed to the New York City-based startup. "While we have access to a lot of companies there, we don't have the high-level relationships," he said. "We can't project our force on the west coast the same way we can here."
AppNexus has now raised $140.5 million, which could make it difficult for the company to find an acquirer who could afford it. It's looking more and more like IPO or bust.