Israel’s ironSource, an app-monetization startup, is going public via a SPAC.
But before you tune out to avoid reading about yet another blank-check company taking a private company public, you’ll want to pay attention to this one.
For starters, this is the second SPAC-led debut from an Israeli company in recent weeks worth more than $10 billion. And secondly, ironSource is actually a pretty darn interesting company from a financial perspective.
The company follows eToro in announcing its combination with a public entity designed to help startups get over the private-public divide. Valued at just over $11 billion by the deal, it will best eToro’s valuation by several hundred million. Combined, both companies will bring more than $20 billion in liquidity to their founders, backers, ecosystems, employees and SPAC teams associated with their impending debuts.
This morning, let’s rewind through TechCrunch’s ironSource coverage during its life as a private company and then examine its financial results. At the end, we’ll ask ourselves whether its new valuation makes any damn sense.
It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to strap in and get to work. Let’s get to it!
ironSource’s past, performance and future
TechCrunch has covered ironSource for years, including a piece on its 2014-era $85 million investment. At the time, we noted that the company “support[s] about 5 million installs per day and [has] more than 50,000 applications using [its] SDK.”
In 2019, ironSource raised more than $400 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion, though details were fuzzy at the time. TechCrunch wrote about the company last month when it announced its second acquisition of the year; ironSource bought Soomla — app monetization tracking — and Luna Labs — video ad tooling — toward the end of its path to a public debut.
PitchBook data indicates that the company was worth an estimated $1.56 billion when it closed its 2019-era round. That ironSource intends to go public with a valuation of $11.1 billion means that it is shooting for a commanding increase in value in just a few short years.
Is the company worth the new number? Let’s find out, starting with a look at its revenue growth over time:
First, observe ironSource’s historical performance in 2020 compared to 2019; posting 83% revenue growth from a nine-figure base is impressive. The company only expects to grow a hair over 37% in 2021, however, though it doesn’t anticipate further revenue growth deceleration in percentage terms the following year.
The chart on the right is useful as well. Note how the company’s 2019 saw strong growth from its Q1 to its Q4. But also note its flat summer, in which sequential growth came to a near halt. Comparing that lackluster middle period with the rapid growth ironSource posted in every quarter of 2020 is stark. Sure, the pandemic boosted screen time for all of us, but my gosh, did ironSource have a great year on the back of the pandemic.