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PubMatic Raises $45 Million With IPO, Acquisitions in Mind

Company positioning beyond SSP status
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PubMatic raised $45 million in its latest funding round. The supply-side platform’s co-founder and CEO Rajeev Goel said the new investment “adds heft to the balance sheet” as the company eyes acquisitions in the mobile, video, data and brand control sectors that will build out its position in relation to competitors like Rubicon Project.

Goel briefed Adweek on the news Monday afternoon in the company’s New York offices, diagramming on a whiteboard his plans to expand PubMatic from a platform that manages publishers’ inventory into what he claimed will be “the sales platform of the future for publishers.”

To explain that plan he, of course, sketched out the oft-cited LUMAscape chart, which positions advertisers on the far left side and publishers on the far right, with SSPs like PubMatic sitting inside adjacent to its publisher clients. Rather than follow in the footsteps of companies like Google and build a horizontally end-to-end platform that spans advertisers through to publishers, PubMatic will build out vertically to include desktop display, mobile, video; direct and indirect sales; real-time buying and brand advertising; and data in its arsenal.

Not coincidentally, PubMatic is kicking around the idea of going public, so the growth plans align with what Goel sees as a bifurcation in the ad tech landscape between sustainable tech platforms and point solutions that he said didn’t exist 12 months ago. “VCs want to fund the winners...the consolidators,” he said, adding that companies either go public or get bought.

Goel wouldn’t discuss PubMatic’s revenue, but the latest funding round is a sixfold increase from its last funding round in 2010, which brought the company $7.5 million. August Capital, a new investor in PubMatic, led the most recent round and was joined by existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Nexus Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners and Silicon Valley Bank.

PubMatic’s funding news comes two weeks after Rubicon Project announced it had acquired mobile ad tech firm Mobsmith. Both PubMatic and Rubicon have been building out their executive teams over the last few months, which Goel acknowledged are generally signs of a company preparing to go public. PubMatic hired Kirk McDonald as president last fall, Larry Harris as CMO in March and Nadine Stocklin as general counsel last week. And last month Rubicon added Brian Pike as CTO, Victoria von Szeliski as general counsel and John Slade as svp of product management; those hires follow the company hiring Brian Barnum as COO and CFO in January.