Online ad retargeter Criteo made an impressive debut on NASDAQ today. Its stock shot up over 30% as soon as it hit the market, giving ad-tech its second strong IPO in as many months.
Criteo initially planned to price its IPO at $23 to $26 dollars per share, but bumped it to a $27 to $29 range and then to $31 dollars late Tuesday. The demand it anticipated, even at the increased price, was clearly present. The stock climbed all the way to $45 dollars before dropping closer to $40 at midday Wednesday.
Criteo's strong debut continued a reversal of what initially looked like a difficult year for ad-tech IPOs. The initial public offerings of video ad-tech companies YuMe and Tremor Video earlier this year were largely viewed as disappointing -- neither is currently trading above its initial offering price -- and left some wondering whether Wall Street had gone sour on ad-tech.
But demand side platform Rocket Fuel's IPO in September put those fears to rest. Its stock price nearly doubled on the first day of trading and remains close to that level today. Criteo, though not experiencing quite the same pop, followed suit, with investors showing eagerness to invest in ad-tech companies with specialized intellectual property.
Criteo, which targets ads to web visitors based on their browsing history, has recommendation engine technology built into its software. That component allows the company to show a cascade of products it believes will be appealing to consumers, even if based on a single page visit.
In all, Criteo raised over $250 million dollars today. The cash poured in despite a $6.4 million loss Criteo reported in the first six months of 2013. Criteo had been profitable in 2010, 2011 and 2012 however, and earned in a healthy $353.7 million in revenue last year.
Pre-IPO, Criteo raised $63 million dollars, with its last round putting it at a reported valuation of $800 million dollars. The company is now worth more than double that amount.