Ad tech company Integral Ad Science closes up 14% in market debut

IAS CEO Lisa Utzschneider

Ad tech company Integral Ad Science closed up 14% Wednesday afternoon following its stock market debut, trading under the ticker “IAS.” Shares opened at $22, up from its IPO price of $18, valuing the company at close to $3.3 billion.

IAS calls itself a “verification company” for digital ads. Its technology claims to help advertisers ensure ads are viewable, non-fraudulent, in the correct geography and “brand-safe,” or not running near content that advertisers might deem problematic. 

“Think of a Coke ad running on YouTube,” CEO Lisa Utzschneider said in an interview Wednesday. “We verify that the ad has been viewed by a human, it ran adjacent to brand-safe and brand-suitable content. And we also offer a contextual targeting solution helping the Cokes of the world seek out content that is appropriate for their brands or content that they want to avoid.” 

IAS competes with DoubleVerify, which went public in April. DoubleVerify has jumped 31.5% since its IPO to $47.35.

IAS recorded a net loss of $2.8 million for the three months ended March 31, narrower than its $14.4 loss in the same period a year earlier. 

Utzschneider said the company has more than 2,000 customers, including Coke, Nestle, Verizon and GlaxoSmithKline. She said more clients are signing contracts with the company to handle verification of all of their digital media globally. 

On the publisher side, she said the company has partnerships with publishers like Reuters, Hulu and Comcast‘s NBCUniversal. 

“The reason why it’s so important that we work both with marketers and with publishers is because we’re helping publishers to drive greater yield, deliver higher quality media and help them with their overall yield and optimization,” she said. 

The company also has a contextual targeting offering, which Utzschneider said should be a differentiator for the company as Google prepares to end support for third-party cookies. The product promises to help marketers find content they’d like to be near or prefer to avoid. 

Utzschneider said the IPO will help the company hire engineers and data scientists and to make strategic acquisitions. 

Social platforms and connected TV are also areas of growth. IAS is working with Twitter on brand safety technology for the platform’s feed. Utzschneider said she expected there will be “additional social platforms to come.” 

Disclosure: Comcast-owned NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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