RealTime IT News

Online Lead Generator Reply.com Preps IPO

There hasn't been a lot of initial public offering (IPO) activity lately, but Reply Inc. is stepping up to the plate. The online lead generation company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday for an IPO that could raise as much as $60 million.

Reply, based in San Carlos, Calif., operates a cost-per-click ad network that targets advertisements for local businesses. In its SEC filing, the company said its total sales last year improved 75 percent to more than $34.3 million and that it returned a profit of $2.5 million.

Reply's founder is Payam Zamani, who previously co-founded online car-buying service Autoweb.com, which is based in Irvine, Calif.

Reply acquires click traffic from search engines, display ad networks and other sources. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the site generated 4.9 million "enhanced clicks" and 700,000 leads for 5,000 advertisers.

The 127-person company has received more than $21 million in venture and debt financing from the likes of Scale Venture Partners, ATEL Ventures and Outlook Ventures.

In its S-1 filing, company officials said it plans to use the IPO proceeds to expand into new advertising categories and geographies.

Last week, PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a report indicating that merger and acquisition activity will increase throughout 2010 as established companies looking for new growth opportunities seek out inventive and well-funded privately held tech companies.

Jefferies and Co. and Piper Jaffray will serve as co-lead underwriters of the offering. The company plans to trade under the NASDAQ symbol "RPLY."

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.