Despite the similarities in Rocket Fuel and Criteo's businesses (both have data and algorithms "under the hood"), there are key differences. Rocket Fuel enjoys larger gross margins (approximately 56% to Criteo's 35%), but Criteo has strong client relationships. Among the details touted on its IPO roadshow: More than 76% of revenue comes from customers with open budgets. That means that, unlike Rocket Fuel, it may be less reliant on renewing insertion orders on a monthly or quarterly basis.
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Some worry that the overwhelming interest in FUEL and CRTO could fuel an ad-tech IPO bubble -- with a small legion of startups rushing to file S-1's. If today's corpulent valuations hold, the appeal of public markets could prove stronger than a merger or sale for a lesser sum.
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