Mobile Ad Network Jumptap Preps For IPO, Picks Up Another $27.5M From Keating, WPP And More While Waiting

Jumptap — one of the last big, independent and privately-held mobile ad networks around reaching 263 million people worldwide — has today announced that it has picked up another $27.5 million in funding to keep up the pace with other players while it prepares for an IPO itself.

This round was led by two new backers, Keating Capital and “a large institutional investor” that Jumptap tells me it cannot name. The round also saw participation from existing investors General Catalyst Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Summerhill Ventures, Valhalla Partners, and WPP (the last one of these perhaps one to watch the closest). In total, Jumptap has now raised $121.5 million.

The funding will also be used to meet the rapid expansion we’re seeing in the mobile advertising space — currently growing at 50 percent annually and still very much still in its infancy. eMarketer notes that last year was the first to see mobile ads break the $1 billion mark in the U.S., and believes that this year those numbers will top $2.6 billion. But compared to the trillions raked in through advertising worldwide, there is still a long way for mobile ads to go, fuelled by the increasingly ubiquitous presence of smartphones and mobile data usage.

Jumptap says that currently its ad network reaches 107 million mobile users in the U.S., with another 156 million worldwide, with 20 billion mobile impressions each month. It also notes that it owns 29 patents with another 200 pending — in itself a potentially valuable area for the company. (As a point of comparison, Millennial Media, another of the large independents, says it has a worldwide reach of 300 million users on its ad network.)

What do those patents cover? Over the last few years, Jumptap has developed an ad targeting service that involves the company working with a number of “offline” third-party data providers — 20 in all — that include Polk, Acxiom, Datalogix, TARGUSinfo, Catalyst, and i360. Jumptap claims to have been the first to do this — although others work with offline data providers as well.

The company also works with others to feed data into its service to better hone how ads get delivered. These include PlaceIQ for location and 140 Proof for social media analysis. Jumptap has made some good forays into researching the behaviour of different vertical markets as well — all part of its effort to get more information out to ad buyers in a still-nascent market short on quantifiable data.

“Jumptap tackled the challenge of honing mobile ad targeting and understanding mobile audience, and it is flourishing on this path,” John Simon, chairman of the board at Jumptap, and MD and Co-founder of General Catalyst Partners, said in a statement. “Under the direction of its innovative leadership team, Jumptap has emerged as a leader in the market.”