Purch Mulling an IPO

On track for $100 million in revenue this year

Purch is looking for ways to get to the next level, and one leading option is allowing the public to buy shares.

"I would consider the IPO as one possible path, amongst other paths, in the next 12 to 24 months," Purch CEO Greg Mason told Adweek.

Mason said the publishing company, which rebranded itself from TechMedia Network on April 30, is on track to hit $100 million in revenue this year, and is growing at a rate of over 20 percent year-over-year. Purch also clenched the number one spot in the technology category in April 2014, according to comScore. Over 26 million visitors checked out its technology sites that month, giving Purch a slim but clear lead over CNET and Ziff Davis Tech.

But, if it wants to stay competitive, Mason admitted it will need more money. In late 2011, the company raised about $50 million through venture capital funding from Village Ventures and Highway 12 Ventures and from private equity company ABS Capital Partners. Mason said an IPO would allow the company to get the funding to continue to grow, adding that public market investors it has spoken to expressed interest in the possibility.

"We sort of feel like we see a business that is worth $300, $400 or even $500 million," he emphasized.

The IPO isn't the only possibility it is considering, however. Other options consider taking a debt on the business or returning for another round of capital funding.

Whatever option it chooses, Mason is banking that the company's strategy of emphasizing service driven advice across its sites will appeal to investors. What this means in practice is an expansion of its review topics and formats, which can be seen in Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide and new partner Mobile Nations. And, though its leading property Live Science, which pulled in more than 4.1 million viewers in April, is focused on health and science news, it too has a consumer utility aspect. Mason explained that the content on the site reflects the quantitative self movement, which is the idea that data or scientific facts can be used in technology that can improve people's wellbeing.

Purch is also considering alternate opportunities to boost consumer oriented products focused on guiding consumers or businesses' decisions. Ideally, it will be music to both reader and advertisers' ears, considering that a GE Capital Retail Bank study showed that 81 percent of U.S. customers do research online before a major purchase and spend 79 days sorting through Web information before handing over any cash.

"We wanted a name that was a lot more reflective of our mission and our strategy of our business," Mason said.

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