Digital Research Firm eMarketer Nabs $25 Million to Accelerate Growth

Funds Also Pay Early Investors, Insure Against Economic Downturn

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EMarketer, the digital-media and -marketing research firm, has had its fair share of suitors recently, according to Geoff Ramsey, co-founder and CEO. "We get calls from private equity firms and other companies all the time," he said.

Mr. Ramsey and his company have now turned away possible acquirers for the foreseeable future, instead taking on a $25 million investment from Stripes Group, a firm that targets growth investments in mature, profitable businesses. Part of the $25 million, which makes Stripes Group the company's second-largest shareholder, was used to purchase equity from the company's founders as well as Beehive Ventures, which remains the largest shareholder. But "a sizable chunk" of the $25 million will be invested in the company, according to Mr. Ramsey, fueling its international expansion and serving as a financial buffer should the global economic landscape worsen.

"Now's the time," Mr. Ramsey said. "It's an inflection point as digital is starting to diffuse more and more throughout companies worldwide -- supply-chain companies, marketing companies, commerce companies -- and we want to ramp up rapidly."

Rather than conducting its own research studies, eMarketer aggregates data on a given topic from various sources and then normalizes, weighs and evaluates that data to produce estimates on companies' market share and industry trends. More than 80% of the company's revenue comes from its subscription business, whose clients include large advertisers, agencies and media companies.

Mr. Ramsey said the investment would allow eMarketer to quickly increase the amount of content it produces and data it collects for more markets in both North America and Western Europe, including the United Kingdom. The company is also taking a look at opportunities in Mexico, Brazil and China, he said. Mr. Ramsey said eMarketer would continue a recent hiring spree across all areas of the company.

"We want to have more content that pulls data from more countries and the salespeople dedicated to it," he said.

Founded in 1996, eMarketer has been profitable since 2004 and now employs more than 100 people, Mr. Ramsey said.

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