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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

While many tech companies are still apprehensive about going public and all the scrutiny that comes with that, ex-Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo de Masi just listed a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) on the New York Stock Exchange, raising $200 million.

What’s next: De Masi, along with co-sponsor and former EMC executive Harry You, wants to create the next great mobile app-focused public company via this vehicle, he tells Axios. Think of it as Match Group, but for a different app category.

The big picture: “Game companies are often pioneers in various models,” says de Masi, a seasoned executive best known for heading Glu Mobile, the company behind Kim Kardashian’s mobile game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

  • “Every other app category is probably three to five years, or maybe seven years behind on monetization and distribution sophistication.”

The duo is targeting companies that are either entirely based on a mobile app or mainly driven by one, and worth roughly $1 billion.

  • “I think the ideal business for us has nine figures of revenue, is breaking even or is profitable, and is looking to take growth to the next level,” de Masi says.
  • From there, the plan is to build out the company with additional apps and acquisitions.

Between the lines: A number of tech “unicorn” companies have struggled in the face of unforgiving public investors. But, de Masi argues that going public gives companies a lot of advantages.

"It’s very difficult to get private mergers done because no one knows what your stock is worth. It’s really hard to take a lot of risk on businesses on this stage without the 10 years of public earnings.""I've always found the public markets to be really receptive to growth stage companies. ... I think the first people who IPO in these [mobile app] categories have a tremendous advantage of over their competitors. They can be in pole position to be the acquirers."
— Niccolo de Masi

Plus, he points to a number of recent high-profile SPAC deals, like Social Capital Hedosophia’s acquisition of Virgin Galactic and Diamond Eagle’s purchase of Draft Kings, as proof the industry is embracing the model.

The bottom line: Don't be surprised if more of these continue to crop up.

Go deeper: The IPO story gets complicated

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.