NASDAQ Debutante TubeMogul Saw Video Platform Acceleration In Q1

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tubemogul-s1TubeMogul, whose IPO is expected soon, saw revenue from direct users of its demand-side platform (DSP) ramp up dramatically in the first quarter of the year.

According to an updated S-1 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, total revenue for Q1 2014 grew to $22 million, 130% more than it made the first three months of 2013. That money came from a combination of Platform Direct and Platform Services revenues – i.e., software and managed services fees.

TubeMogul looked strongest in the SaaS area. For the first three months of the year, its platform revenues were $9.2 million, representing 300% growth from Q1 2013.

Meanwhile managed services (or, if you prefer, insertion order-based buying) grew more slowly, from $7.3 million to $12.8 million in the same time frame. Of the $5.5 million in new Platform Services fees, just over half ($3.4 million) came from new customers. The other $2 million or so came from additional spending by existing buyers.

TubeMogul appears well-positioned to capture growing interest from large brand advertisers in digital video – as evidenced by the glitz and star power on display at this week's digital upfront parties hosted by AOL, Google/YouTube and others.

The company has won some big new accounts, including Kimberly-Clark, which has begun using TubeMogul to support video execution alongside its preferred general DSP, Turn.

TubeMogul's revenue growth was partly offset by rising media costs in its Platform Services.

"Cost of revenue increased $2.8 million, or 83%, during the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2013. This increase was due to a $2.7 million increase in media costs associated with the growth in Platform Services revenue," the company told investors. In other words, margins from its ad network-like business suffered as more advertisers clamored for video inventory.

But overall, TubeMogul's gross margins showed steady improvement, as one would expect given its SaaS traction: "For the years ended December 31, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2014, our gross margin was 48%, 52%, 66%, 65% and 72%, respectively."

And TubeMogul's net losses are shrinking for the moment. Q1 net loss fell to $800,000 from $1.9 million during same period last year.

As of March 31, TubeMogul employed 280 staffers, many of them engineers. Personnel costs for the quarter rose $1.4 million.

TubeMogul is preparing to enter the public markets at a gloomy time for ad tech stocks. Stock prices for Rocket Fuel, Criteo and Rubicon Project are trading well below their market debuts.

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