The future of the web will be the opposite of how people use search engines, according to one ad executive whose company began trading on Nasdaq today. Instead of people looking for information, information will look for people, said Taboola Founder and CEO Adam Singolda in a video interview. He believes the future will focus on recommendations.
Taboola, which provides publishers with a way to generate revenue from native advertising, on Wednesday became a publicly traded company under the symbol “TBLA” It follows a deal to merge with ION Acquisition Corp. 1, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created for the sole purpose to buy a private company and take them public.
SPAC has become popular lately. Companies like Innovid and BuzzFeed used this technique to go public.
Singolda said he chose to take the company public through a SPAC company because he knew the sponsor CEO of ION, and they have a pre-IPO fund -- and also because the process to go public was front-loaded, meaning that the entire process happens before the IPO begins, rather than after.
In an interview with Beet.TV, he said “we had the financial performance investors would appreciate. We want to champion the open web.”
Last year, Taboola generated $100 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization on $1.2 billion in revenue. In the first quarter of 2021, the company reported revenue of $303 million and net income of $18.6 million.
Taboola places content recommendation boxes on the websites of publishers such as CNBC. The boxes recommend pieces of content from a publisher’s own site, with promoted slots that advertisers buy.
About 13,000 advertisers use its network to reach more than 500 million daily active users on the sites of more than 9,000 publishers.
At one point, Taboola planned to merge with Outbrain, which announced Tuesday that it also filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) related to a proposed initial public offering of its common stock.
Singolda told Beet.TV that he “almost shut down Taboola three times for [lack] of funding.”
His search for funding in 2011 led him to Sand Hill Road, where he met 30 investors, all of whom declined to provide funding. But eventually he found a new fund in New York that invested $1.5 million in Taboola.
Today, Taboola works with Comcast, NBC, CNBC, the Today Show, CBS, Microsoft, and BBC.