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Rokt vetting bankers for potential fall IPO

Collage illustration of the Wall Street street sign and IPO filing papers.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Rokt, an e-commerce tech provider, is interviewing investment banks for a potential fall IPO, CEO Bruce Buchanan tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The public markets outlook for late 2023 looks sunnier than last year, and Rokt could be one of several listings.

Details: CFO Nathaniel Katz, who is now settled in after coming on board in early November, is overseeing the vetting process and is also interviewing secondary banks, Buchanan says.

  • Buchanan says his mandate is to be IPO ready to give shareholders a full range of liquidity options.
  • The company could also elect not to go public, with a secondary share sell or a sale to a strategic among other options, Buchanan says

Driving the news: Rokt sees an opportunity to attract talent amid industry layoffs with its new Seattle office, led by former Amazon exec John Walzer, Buchanan says.

  • Walzer and SVP of engineering Noel Cutis, who recently served as VP of technology at GrubHub, are the two latest hires, says Bill Barton, chief product and engineering officer.
  • "The hiring is to accelerate bringing the vision we already have to fruition. We have more strategy than we have people to deliver against it," Barton says.
  • Rokt has grown by double-digits year over year for several years.
  • "We're profitable, we have money in the bank, we can afford to grow," Barton adds.

Of note: Despite more worker availability, there still isn't downward pressure on compensation for top talent, Barton says.

  • Rokt also continues to pursue a hybrid work strategy with its Seattle office, Buchanan says.
  • While working from home can increase productivity, Rokt has an apprenticeship model where junior colleagues spend time with senior management to learn leadership skills, he notes.

What's next: Rokt is leveraging machine learning to apply relevant product offers to purchases, adding more value to the cart in terms of upsells and cross-sells, Barton explains.

  • If someone is buying tickets via Ticketmaster, for example, Rokt would offer to pair those tickets with parking or to provide insurance for those tickets, he says.
  • When the customer gets ready to pay, Roks interjects with offers from payment providers such as American Express or Wells Fargo, Barton says.
  • The payments marketplace, which is new, will gain momentum this year and contribute materially to revenue, he points out.
  • The payment confirmation page, which is currently the core of the company's business, is where Rokt unlocks product offerings — such as three free months of the streaming service Hulu, for example.
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