April 20, 2017
Alex Wilhelm is the Editor in Chief of Crunchbase News, covering the intersection of startups and money.
share

Morning Report: Never heard of the company Oracle just bought? Let’s dig up some context.

Like many of you, my reaction to the news that Oracle acquired Moat was to wonder who the heck Moat was, anyway.

Sadly, that reflects poorly on us. Oracle reportedly intends to pay more than $850 million for the company. That’s a massive chunk of change. So what’s Moat, and why did Oracle buy it for 85 percent of a unicorn? Let’s find out.

Moat

What does Moat do? Happily, for us, TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha wrote the perfect paragraph concerning the matter:

“Founded in 2010, Moat helps advertisers and publishers measure whether people see and interact with online ads. The need to create what CEO Jonah Goodhart has called ‘the currency for digital advertising’ seems increasingly important given advertiser concerns around viewability, fraud and trust[.]”

That either helps you or it doesn’t. Now, to the numbers.

According to Crunchbase, Moat has raised $67.5 million to date, including a $50 million Series C last year. That infusion came four years after the firm’s more modest $13 million Series B. The obvious inference from that capital interregnum is capital efficiency, a positive indicator to say the least.

In fact, the company was tipped in a Business Insider piece in 2016 as a “pre-IPO ad tech” firm. The article estimated then that Moat had revenues between $50 and $100 million. It isn’t clear if the estimates dealt with net revenue, trailing calculations instead of run rates, and so forth. And the width of the estimate’s band isn’t overly confidence-inspiring.

What else can we infer from the still-private company? That it was adding headcount quickly in 2016, that it comes up when public ad-tech companies are in the news, and that the company expanded a high-profile deal with Snap, the parent company of Snapchat.

Here’s TheDrum on the extension of the Moat-Snap deal from this January:

Snapchat first inked a deal with Moat in the US last June, and now marketers in select European counties can use the service to monitor, among other metrics, “human and viewable”, and “human, viewable and audible” across branded Snapchat video impressions.

That’s an impressive contract, given how quickly Snap intends to grow; if Snap grows rapidly, it seems reasonable to infer that Moat’s deal with the firm will scale to at least some positive extent.

To sum: Moat, a rapidly hiring firm with fresh capital, likely eight-figure revenues, IPO whispers, and an expanding deal with a double-point-five decacorn is worth $850 million, give or take. At least to Oracle.

If you had Moat in your IPO pool, sorry.

From the Crunchbase Daily:

Microvast raises $400M for battery systems

  • Microvast, a developer of lithium ion battery systems, announced that a subsidiary division has raised $400 million in a funding round led by China’s CITIC Securities. Based in Huzhou, China and Stafford, Texas, Microvast develops and manufactures battery systems used in hybrid and electric buses.

Tech companies file brief opposing Trump travel ban

  • A total of 162 technology companies banded together to file an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s revised immigration order. Backers include Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and a long list of startups and other large technology companies.

MakeSpace raises $30M for storage biz

  • MakeSpace, a New York-based startup that offers an on-demand service for storing personal belongings and delivering them from storage, has raised $30 million in a round backed by 8VC, Upfront Ventures and others, TechCrunch reports.

Rivals seek market share in productivity space

  • For seemingly forever, Microsoft has dominated the office productivity software sector, with Google more recently cementing a hold on second place. But rivals are still active in the space as well, Crunchbase News reports, with Zoho, Quip and Open-Xchange among those leading the charge.