ReachLocal files $100 million IPO

Matt Bowman · December 22, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/ca0

The heavily-funded local online ad company has been amassing a salesforce to win smb ad dollars.

 This is more like it. Founded five years ago, not profitable, and ready to IPO. ReachLocal declared the public offering drought over today by filing for a $100 million IPO. The online local advertising company has taken in $68 million from VatangePoint Ventures, known for picking few companies and funding them up the wazoo, Rho Capital, and Opportunities partners.

ReachLocal is trying to corner the online local ad market. This is a classic VC play: there’s a small window for one or two super-fast growing companies to grab a big chunk of a soon-to-be-massive market. It’s the same reason Yelp could attract a $550 million offer, and refuse it. ReachLocal has grown its salesforce from 28 in 2006 to 525 this year. The on-the-ground=growth seems smart. Most local businesses don’t yet see the advantage to online ads, as opposed to buying exposure in local print and display. But as the geo-web enables location-based targeting, whoever reaches the Mom and Pop shops first could have a serious advantage. London-based ReachLocal is betting that good old-fashioned door-to-door salesmen are the way to go. And a recession is the best time to find willing handwringers all across the globe.

VantagePoint owns 53.22% of the pre-IPO stake, Rho Ventures has 12.94% and Galleon Group, which has been caught up in an insider trading scandal, owns 6.76%.

Solyndra, another venture-backed company, filed for an IPO last week. The re-opening of the IPO market will help with M&A valuations as companies exit options widen.

Reach Local was ranked No. 1 on the Deloitte 2009 Technology Fast 500 list of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America.

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