Ad-Tech Company Rocket Fuel Nearly Doubles Stock Price In First Day Of Public Trading

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Gillmor Gang Live 09.20.13 (TCTV)

Rocket Fuel’s first day of public trading seems to have lived up to the company’s name.

The ad-tech firm revealed its intentions to go public last month, and last night sold 4 million shares at a price of $29, raising a total of $116 million at a valuation of nearly $1 billion. Today the share price went up as high as $62.50 before closing at $55, about 90 percent higher than the IPO price.

This seems like particularly good news after a period where other ad tech companies, including Tremor Media and YuMe, had lackluster IPOs. In fact, Rocket Fuel CEO George John told the San Jose Mercury News that the recent ad-tech disappointments on Wall Street made him less confident about the offering (though he also said he’d become “pretty confident” again that investors would embrace the stock).

The company’s name comes from the team’s background — John, for example, worked on artificial intelligence at NASA. Rocket Fuel says it uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology to optimize online ad campaigns.

Founded in 2008, Rocket Fuel raised funding from Mohr Davidow Ventures, Labrador Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, Northgate Capital, and others. According to its S-1 filing, the company saw revenue of $107 million in 2012, more than doubling its revenue for 2011, with an EBITDA loss of $3 million.