Startups

IPO-Bound Flurry Looks to Double Headcount, Launch Real-time Bidding Platform

Flurry, the Google Analytics of mobile applications used in nearly 300,000 mobile applications, is widely rumored to be IPO-bound though no official paperwork has yet been filed. One job listing mentions that the role will include “managing policies and procedures required to ensure full IT compliance with SOX 404 and all other laws, regulations, and SEC requirements in anticipation of Flurry’s IPO”.

Our sources tell us the company is on track to double their headcount this year, and the 105 person organization currently has 50 open positions they’re looking to fill including director roles in Evangelism, Partner Integration, IT, Product Management, QA and Sales.

As ambitious as this sounds, the company doubled last year and shows no signs of slowing down after hitting cash flow positive and raising another large chunk of funding at the end of 2012. Flurry provides analytics services to developers for free and uses the anonymized data they collet to help developers increase their audience with targeted in-app advertising across their ad network, tracking over 1.2 trillion anonymous aggregated user sessions per month.

Launching a Real-time Bidding Marketplace?

In early March Flurry competitor Tapjoy announced the launch of their mobile advertising platform out of beta, and with it came a real-time bidding platform. A little sleuthing (Google, actually) reveals that Flurry is currently hiring for a Realtime Bidding Manager and has posted their Terms of Service for a realtime-bidding marketplace, which describes the service as:

…the automated real-time auction service that enables you to bid on and purchase inventory for the placement of Ads in the Flurry RTB Marketplace, a virtual marketplace where you may buy inventory for yourself or on behalf of third party advertisers (“Advertisers”) from sellers. “Ads” means your text, graphic, rich media and other advertising materials. The Flurry RTB Service enables you to deliver Ads through the Service by responding to ad requests delivered through Flurry’s real-time bidding application programming interface (the “API”) with a CPM-based bid price for that impression (the “Bid”)

While the TOS page is live, it is unclear whether this service is live to customers and we have reached out to Flurry and will update this post when we hear back.

The bottom line: The launch a real-time bidding platform is the inevitable next-step in Flurry’s path to IPO. But with Gartner estimating the mobile advertising market will continue to double over the next three years, reaching more then $20 Billion by 2015, mobile advertising is hardly a winner take all market. I also wonder whether Tapjoy is considering IPO plans as well, and I’m curious whether Google has made overtures to purchase one of the two companies.