SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Trevor Parsons, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Update: Rocket Fuel Continues Its Path of Record-Setting Programmatic Buying Growth

2012 Proved to Be a Stellar Growth Year for Rocket Fuel's Revenues, Client Base, and Headcount, and Proof of Programmatic Buying's Longevity

REDWOOD CITY, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/18/13 -- Rocket Fuel, the leading provider of artificial intelligence advertising solutions for digital marketers, announced today it achieved record revenue of $107 million and more than doubled its staff in 2012. The company's annual revenue increased by 138%, and Rocket Fuel had its strongest year of client additions and employee headcount since inception.

Programmatic buying -- the ability to bid on an advertising inventory source, in real time, for the opportunity to show one specific ad to one consumer in one specific context, continues to gain momentum. Research firm IDC has projected that programmatic buying will grow at 53% per year between 2011 and 2016, and will account for 58% of indirect display ad sales and 20% of all display advertising. Furthermore, IDC cites programmatic buying as the fastest growing sector in digital advertising, eclipsing mobile, video, and social advertising spending. eMarketer, Parks Associates, and Forrester have all published independent analysis that confirms the growth and impact of programmatic buying across the digital advertising ecosystem.

2012 Rocket Fuel Highlights:

  • Revenue: Revenue grew from $45M to $107M with growth from new customers in new markets as well as repeat customers shifting more budget to Rocket Fuel.
  • Advertisers: The number of new advertisers with Rocket Fuel increased 93% in 2012 over 2011, significantly improving the company's market share.
  • Technology: Achievements in its programmatic buying solution:
    • The artificial intelligence technology platform now simultaneously addresses 26.237 billion daily real-time-biddable (RTB) impressions across display, video, mobile, and Facebook advertising inventory
    • Full RTB integration with Facebook's Advertising Exchange (FBX)
    • 8,424 CPU cores across five worldwide datacenters
  • People Growth: Total staff increased 126% from 128 employees at year-end in 2011, to 289 employees at year-end in 2012; leadership was further strengthened with the addition of six new executives: Eric Porres as CMO; Scott Spaulding as Vice President of East Coast Sales; Oliver Hülse as General Manager of Germany; Aaron Kaliner as Vice President of Enterprise Sales; JoAnn Covington as General Counsel; and Derek Sidebottom as Vice President of People. Ron Codd, PeopleSoft's former CFO, joined Rocket Fuel's board of directors.
  • Worldwide Growth: Rocket Fuel opened six additional offices, further solidifying its global presence with new offices in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Hamburg, Raleigh-Durham, Toronto, Washington DC. It now has offices in 15 cities worldwide. Rocket Fuel also entered the emerging Japanese programmatic-buying market, aligning with Japan's largest digital marketing company, cyber communications inc. (cci), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dentsu. Under the terms of the strategic alliance, cci runs its digital ad-management service, "PerformanceX Management," on top of Rocket Fuel's platform, offering full-service brand and direct response campaigns to clients.
  • Funding: A $50 million Series C-1 investment, led by Northgate Capital, with additional investment from Cross Creek Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Nokia Growth Capital, Summit Partners, and Comerica. Karey Barker from Cross Creek Capital and Greg S. Goldfarb from Summit Partners joined as board observers.
  • Recognition: The company received 11 different industry awards, including Forbes' Most Promising Companies in America (ranked #22), the AlwaysOn Global 250 (2 consecutive years) and OnMedia 100 (3 consecutive years), JMP Securities' Hot 100 Software Companies, and was named one of Bay Area's Top Workplaces in 2012 according to Workplace Dynamics.

Quotes:
"When we started Rocket Fuel in 2008, we believed that marketers and agency media teams would want smart robots buying and optimizing online ad space for them. It has been a true privilege to work with our investors and our employees to make this vision a reality," said George John, CEO of Rocket Fuel. "Since founding the company, all trends have gone in our favor:

  • marketers became more serious about delivering quantifiable results through digital advertising,
  • the supply of digital ad space has become increasingly abundant, liquid, and purchasable programmatically,
  • consumers have accelerated their ecommerce activity and time spent with digital media, across social sites, video, and through mobile devices,
  • computational power has become increasingly inexpensive while software for managing big data has become increasingly robust.

Broadly, the prospects for artificial intelligence and robotics have become more evident over time -- such as Watson winning Jeopardy®, the Curiosity rover landing itself on Mars, and self-driving cars becoming abundant. It's an incredibly exciting time to be part of the advertising economy, with a $500Bn global advertising market that has made itself increasingly available to Rocket Fuel's programmatic buying platform, such as Facebook's creation of its exchange."

About Rocket Fuel
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Read the Rocket Fuel Blog

About Rocket Fuel Inc.:
Rocket Fuel is the leading provider of artificial intelligence advertising solutions that transform digital media campaigns into self-optimizing engines that learn and adapt in real-time, and deliver outstanding results from awareness to sales. Awarded #22 on the Forbes Most Promising Companies in America list, over 700 of the world's most successful marketers trust Rocket Fuel to power their advertising across display, video, mobile, and social media. Founded by online advertising veterans and rocket scientists from NASA, DoubleClick, IBM, and Salesforce.com, Rocket Fuel is based in Redwood Shores, California, and has offices in 15 cities worldwide including New York, London, Toronto, and Hamburg.

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