The Billion Dollar Personal Recommendation

Outbrain — the startup that powers those “suggested reading” and “recommended for you” links on websites like CNN and US Weekly — is considering an IPO that could value it at $1 billion, GigaOM reported, citing the Wall Street Journal.

According to a confidential prospectus that Outbrain reportedly filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the initial stock offering would be on the Nasdaq exchange early next year. The Journal quoted unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The New York-based startup, which has raised almost $100 million, was founded in Israel in 2006 by Yaron Galai. Its primary competitor, Taboola, was also founded in Israel (on the first day of 2007), is now based in New York and is trying to bring its own funding up to $100 million. Both companies also say they’re the “leading content discovery platform.”

While 400-employee Outbrain doesn’t reveal its revenues publicly, Taboola reported earlier this year that it has a 12-month run rate of about $250 million in revenue.

GigaOM notes that while both companies are growing quickly, “not everyone is enamored of their business model of showing viral ‘clickbait’ in an attempt to drive traffic to publishers and/or advertisers. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said earlier this year on Twitter that ‘anyone serious who uses [a third-party related content module] should be shot.'”


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