Journey of Affle – YourStory

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Cash-positive, profitable and all geared up for an IPO: meet the adtech startup you didn’t know was going public


Adtech company Affle is readying for an IPO, and CEO Anuj Khanna Sohum says their battlefield is emerging markets, ‘where it is difficult for players from developed markets to sustain themselves’.

It’s IPO season for startups in the US, and we in India have often wondered why our unicorns haven’t gone down that road yet. But unicorns aside, there are other startups that are making a mark by going public: three-year-old startup Xelpmoc Design & Tech listed on the BSE main board and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) earlier this year.

Waiting in the wings is another startup – Affle (India) Ltd – which is set to list later this year. The 13-year-old adtech company, which is headquartered in India but has operations in South East Asia, MENA, Europe, US, Japan, South Korea and Australia, received SEBI approval for its IPO October 2018. Affle’s parent company – Affle Holdings Singapore – will divest a part of its stake via the IPO.

There has been plenty of action behind the scenes in the run-up to the IPO. In March this year, Affle acquired Singapore-based online-to-offline (O2O) platform Shoffr, marking its third acquisition in a year’s time. A year back, it had acquired another O2O commerce business, Markt. This was followed by the purchase of the brand, retargeting and push notification businesses and technology platform of marketing technology startup Vizury.

That same month, Affle added Indian hedge fund Malabar Investments to its list of backers. In fact, Malabar MD Sumeet Nagar has gone on record as saying that Affle was the biggest adtech player in India, and a profitable one at that.

So, what makes Affle keen to go public in India where so many others have shied away, preferring to rely on risk capital to fund their growth.

According to Sumeet, “As transactions on mobile apps keep getting more traction and become mainstream, we believe that the demand for Affle’s user acquisition and retention solutions should grow manifold. The management’s focus on profitability has created a combination of sustainable high growth, margins and cashflow generation…As the screen of a smartphone becomes one of the most desired real estates on earth, we expect Affle’s offerings to create significant value for advertisers and investors alike.”