0001564590-21-006726.txt : 20210219 0001564590-21-006726.hdr.sgml : 20210219 20210218181138 ACCESSION NUMBER: 0001564590-21-006726 CONFORMED SUBMISSION TYPE: 10-K PUBLIC DOCUMENT COUNT: 98 CONFORMED PERIOD OF REPORT: 20201231 FILED AS OF DATE: 20210219 DATE AS OF CHANGE: 20210218 FILER: COMPANY DATA: COMPANY CONFORMED NAME: Trade Desk, Inc. CENTRAL INDEX KEY: 0001671933 STANDARD INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION: SERVICES-COMPUTER PROGRAMMING, DATA PROCESSING, ETC. [7370] IRS NUMBER: 271887399 STATE OF INCORPORATION: DE FISCAL YEAR END: 1231 FILING VALUES: FORM TYPE: 10-K SEC ACT: 1934 Act SEC FILE NUMBER: 001-37879 FILM NUMBER: 21651039 BUSINESS ADDRESS: STREET 1: 42 N. CHESTNUT STREET CITY: VENTURA STATE: CA ZIP: 93001 BUSINESS PHONE: (805) 585-3434 MAIL ADDRESS: STREET 1: 42 N. CHESTNUT STREET CITY: VENTURA STATE: CA ZIP: 93001 10-K 1 ttd-10k_20201231.htm 10-K ttd-10k_20201231.htm
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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                  to                 

Commission File Number 001-37879

 

 

THE TRADE DESK, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

27-1887399

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

42 N. Chestnut Street

Ventura, California 93001

(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)

(805) 585-3434

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A Common Stock, par value $0.000001 per share

 

TTD

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

  

Smaller reporting company

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.   

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.   

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes     No  

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2020, based on the closing sales price for the Registrant’s Class A common stock, as reported on the NASDAQ Global Market, was approximately $16,815,566,802. As of January 31, 2021, there were 42,598,726 shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock outstanding and 4,780,900 shares of the registrant’s Class B common stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein. Such proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

 

 

 

 


THE TRADE DESK, INC.

ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

Page

Special Note About Forward-Looking Statements

 

3

 

 

 

 

Part I

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

 

5

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

14

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

35

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

35

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

35

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

35

 

 

 

 

Part II

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

36

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

 

38

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

40

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

52

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

53

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

77

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

77

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

77

 

 

 

 

Part III

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

78

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

78

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

78

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

78

Item 14.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

78

 

 

 

 

Part IV

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

79

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

 

81

 

 

 

 

Signatures 

 

82

 

2


SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements generally relate to future events or our future financial or operating performance and may include statements concerning, among other things, our business strategy (including anticipated trends and developments in, and management plans for, our business and the markets in which we operate), financial results, operating results, revenues, operating expenses, and capital expenditures, sales and marketing initiatives and competition. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “suggests,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions that concern our expectations, strategy, plans or intentions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance; they reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from expectations or results projected or implied by forward-looking statements.

We discuss many of these risks in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K in greater detail under the heading “Risk Factors” and in other filings we make from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. Also, these forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which are inherently subject to change and involve risks and uncertainties. Unless required by federal securities laws, we assume no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated, to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the statements are made. Given these uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

Investors should read this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents that we reference in this report and have filed with the SEC completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

SUMMARY OF RISK FACTORS

The following is a summary of the principal risks described below in Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We believe that the risks described in the “Risk Factors” section are material to investors, but other factors not presently known to us or that we currently believe are immaterial may also adversely affect us. The following summary should not be considered an exhaustive summary of the material risks facing us, and it should be read in conjunction with the “Risk Factors” section and the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

If we fail to maintain and grow our client base and spend through our platform, our revenue and business may be negatively impacted.

 

The loss of advertising agencies as clients could significantly harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If we fail to innovate or make the right investment decisions in our offerings and platform, we may not attract and retain advertisers and advertising agencies and our revenue and results of operations may decline.

 

The market for programmatic buying for advertising campaigns is relatively new and evolving. If this market develops slower or differently than we expect, our business, growth prospects and financial condition would be adversely affected.

 

The effects of health epidemics, such as the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, have had, and could in the future have, an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The market in which we participate is intensely competitive, and we may not be able to compete successfully with our current or future competitors.

 

We often have long sales cycles, which can result in significant time between initial contact with a prospect and execution of a client agreement, making it difficult to project when, if at all, we will obtain new clients and when we will generate revenue from those clients.

 

We are subject to payment-related risks that may adversely affect our business, working capital, financial condition and results of operations, including from advertising agencies that do not pay us until they receive payment from their advertisers and from clients that dispute or do not pay their invoices.

 

Any decrease in the use of the advertising channels that we are primarily dependent upon, failure to expand the use of emerging channels, or unexpected shift in use among the channels in which we operate, could harm our growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If our access to quality advertising inventory is diminished or fails to expand, our revenue could decline and our growth could be impeded.

 

Seasonal fluctuations in advertising activity could have a negative impact on our revenue, cash flow and results of operations.

 

We may experience outages and disruptions on our platform if we fail to maintain adequate security and supporting infrastructure as we scale our platform, which may harm our reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

3


 

If unauthorized access is obtained to user, client or inventory and third-party provider data, or our platform is compromised, our services may be disrupted or perceived as insecure, and as a result, we may lose existing clients or fail to attract new clients, and we may incur significant reputational harm and legal and financial liabilities.

 

Privacy and data protection laws to which we are subject may cause us to incur additional or unexpected costs, subject us to enforcement actions for compliance failures, or cause us to change our platform or business model, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

Third parties control our access to unique identifiers, and if the use of “third-party cookies” or other technology to uniquely identify devices is rejected by Internet users, restricted or otherwise subject to unfavorable regulation, blocked or limited by technical changes on end users’ devices and web browsers, or our and our clients’ ability to use data on our platform is otherwise restricted, our performance may decline, and we may lose advertisers and revenue.

 

The market price of our Class A common stock may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance, and you may not be able to resell your shares at or above your purchase price.

 

Substantial future sales of shares of our common stock could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline.

 

Insiders have substantial control over our company, including as a result of the dual class structure of our common stock, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of key decisions, including a change of control.

This section contains forward-looking statements. You should refer to the explanation of the qualifications and limitations on forward-looking statements described above.

4


PART I

Item 1. Business

Overview

The Trade Desk, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “our,” or “The Trade Desk”) is a technology company that empowers buyers of advertising. Through our self-service, cloud-based platform, ad buyers can create, manage, and optimize more expressive data-driven digital advertising campaigns across ad formats and channels, including display, video, audio, in-app, native and social, on a multitude of devices, such as computers, mobile devices, and connected TV (“CTV”). Our platform’s integrations with major inventory, publisher, and data partners provides ad buyers reach and decisioning capabilities, and our enterprise application programming interfaces (“APIs”) enable our clients to develop on top of the platform.

We commercially launched our platform in 2011, targeting the display advertising channel. Since launching, we have added additional advertising channels. In 2020, the gross spend on our platform came from multiple channels including mobile, video (which includes CTV), display, audio, native and social channels.

Our clients are primarily the advertising agencies and other service providers for advertisers, with whom we enter into ongoing master services agreements (“MSAs”). We generate revenue by charging our clients a platform fee based on a percentage of a client’s total spend on advertising. We also generate revenue from providing data and other value-added services and platform features.

The Trade Desk is a Delaware corporation established in 2009 and headquartered in Ventura, California.

Our Industry

We believe that several trends in the advertising industry, happening in parallel, are driving a shift to programmatic advertising – the selling and buying of advertising inventory electronically.

Some of the key industry trends are:

Media is Becoming Digital. Media is increasingly becoming digital as a result of advances in technology and changes in consumer behavior. This shift has enabled unprecedented options for advertisers to target and measure their advertising campaigns across nearly every media channel and device. The digital advertising market is a significant and growing part of the total advertising market. We believe that the market is evolving and that advertisers will shift more spend to digital media. Since media is becoming increasingly digital, decisions based on consumer and behavioral data are more prevalent.

Fragmentation of Audience. As digital media grows, audience fragmentation is accelerating. A growing “long tail” of mobile applications (apps), media players, websites and content presents a challenge for advertisers trying to reach a large audience. Audience fragmentation has substantially impacted TV content distribution, perhaps more than any other channel, which we believe is changing how TV advertising inventory is monetized. Mirroring the fragmentation occurring in content, the number of devices used by individual consumers has increased. Both of these fragmentation trends are opportunities for technology companies that can consolidate and simplify media buying options for advertisers and their agencies.

Convergence of TV and the Internet. We are witnessing a generational shift from linear TV to CTV with the convergence of the Internet and television programming. New technologies allow more video content to be delivered more seamlessly over the Internet, accelerating consumer demand to watch what they want, when they want and where they want. The current worldwide rollout of 5G, the fifth generational standard for wireless networks, will bring significantly faster data transfer speeds with less latency, and a better user experience, to consumers of mobile video. We believe these technologies will continue to feed consumer demand for CTV (including mobile video) and bring about new opportunities for content owners and advertisers to connect with consumers.

Increased Use of Data. Advances in software and hardware and the growing use of the Internet have made it possible to collect and rapidly process massive amounts of user data. Data vendors are able to collect user information across a wide range of Internet properties and connected devices, aggregate it and combine it with other data sources. This data is then made non-identifiable and available within seconds based on specific parameters and attributes. Advertisers can integrate this targeting data with their own or an agency’s proprietary data relating to client attributes, the advertisers’ own store locations and other related characteristics. Through the use of these types of data sources, together with real-time feedback on consumer reactions to the ads, programmatic advertising increases the value of impressions for advertisers and inventory owners, and viewers receive more relevant ads.

 

Automation of Ad Buying. The growing complexity of digital advertising has increased the need for automation. Technology that enables fast, accurate and cost-effective decision-making through the application of computer algorithms that use extensive data sets has become critical for the success of digital advertising campaigns. Using programmatic inventory buying tools, advertisers are able to automate their campaigns, providing them with better price discovery, on an impression-by-impression basis. As a result, advertisers are able to bid on and purchase the advertising inventory they value the most, pay less for advertising inventory they do not value as much, and abstain from buying advertising inventory that does not fit their campaign parameters.

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Digital Advertising Ecosystem

The digital advertising eco-system is divided into buyers, sellers and marketplaces, which can be further segmented on the basis of whether participants provide services or technology. We believe that participants on the buy-side or sell-side should be advocates for their buyers or sellers, while those in the marketplace business should act as a referee or have market-driven incentives to protect or enhance the integrity of the marketplace. We believe that there are inherent conflicts of interest when market participants serve both buyers and sellers.

What We Do

We empower ad buyers, by providing a self‑service omnichannel software platform that enables our clients to purchase and manage data‑driven digital advertising campaigns. Our platform allows clients to manage integrated advertising campaigns across various advertising channels and formats, including display, video, audio, native and social, on a multitude of devices, including computers, mobile devices, and CTV.

 

We Are Exclusively Focused on the Buy-Side. We focus on buyers since they control the advertising budgets. Also, the supply of digital advertising inventory exceeds demand, and accordingly, we believe it is a buyer’s market. We also believe that by aligning our business only with buyers, we are able to avoid inherent conflicts of interest that exist when serving both the buy-side and sell-side. This focus allows us to build trust with clients, many of whom leverage their proprietary data on our platform. That trust and ability to use their own data on our platform, without worrying about it being used by other participants, enables our clients and their advertisers to achieve better results. This trust provides us the benefit of long-term and stable relationships with our clients.

 

We Are an Enabler, Not a Disruptor. With our platform, we enable advertising agencies and other service providers. Advertisers can benefit from a comprehensive solution that combines our platform with the services provided by advertising agencies.

 

We Are Data-Driven. Our platform was founded on the principle that data-driven decisions will be the future of advertising. We built a data management platform first, before building our ad buying technology. While data from disparate third-party data providers can improve campaign performance, our clients’ success often relies largely on our ability to ingest proprietary data directly from brands and their agencies to enable intelligent decisioning that optimizes advertising campaigns. Given our independent, buy-side focused approach, and our strict protocol of carefully earmarking all client first-party data we ingest onto our data management platform, our clients trust us with their most granular and expressive data. Our technology platform enables the effective use of this granular data, which allows our clients to run precisely targeted advertising campaigns that maximize their return on advertising investments. Additionally, we are able to better optimize campaigns by using the data streams that we capture across different devices, so that data from one channel can be used to inform another. The breadth of data that we collect from a multitude of data sources across channels gives our clients a holistic view of their target audiences, enabling more effective targeting across different channels.

 

We Do Not Arbitrage Advertising Inventory. To further align our interests with those of our clients, we do not buy advertising inventory in order to resell it to our clients for a profit. Instead, we provide our clients with a platform that allows them to manage their omnichannel advertising campaigns, on a self-serve basis with robust reporting. With our platform, our clients control their campaign spend and are able to access and choose from many inventory sources.

 

We Have Ongoing Relationships with Clients. We derive substantially all of our revenue from ongoing MSAs with our clients rather than episodic insertion orders. We believe that this approach helps us strengthen our relationships with our clients and grow their use of our platform over the long term, providing us with a highly scalable business model.

 

We Are a Clear Box, Not a Black Box. Our platform is transparent and shows our clients their costs of advertising inventory and data, our platform fee, and detailed performance metrics on their advertising campaigns. Our clients directly access and execute campaigns on our platform, control all facets of inventory purchasing decisions, and receive detailed, real-time reporting on all their advertising campaigns. By providing transparent information on our platform, our clients are able to continually compare results and target their budgets to the most effective advertising inventory, data providers, and channels.

 

We Are an Open Platform. Clients can customize and build their own features on top of our platform. Clients may use our APIs to, for example, design their own user interface, bulk manage advertising campaigns, and link other systems, including ad servers or reporting tools. By using our APIs or by working with our engineering team, clients can invest their own resources to build their own proprietary tools for reporting, campaign strategy, custom algorithms, proprietary data use, or other use cases. Our open platform approach enables our advertising agency and service provider clients to provide differentiated offerings to their clients, which we believe leads to long-term relationships and increased use of our platform.

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Our Platform

At the core of our platform is our bid-factor based architecture, which we believe has advantages over line-item based architectures that other buy-side systems use. Our bid-factor-based system allows users to define desirable factors and the value associated with those factors. Based on these factors, our platform can compute in real-time the value of impressions and bid only for optimal impressions. Because of the granularity of the bid factors, users of our platform can rapidly create billions of different bid permutations with only a few clicks. This expressiveness enables better targeting, pricing and campaign results.

Our platform is useful and user-friendly based on the following:

 

Easy to Use, Open and Customizable. Our platform provides multiple, easy-to-use automation tools that help our users focus on managing the key factors affecting their campaigns. Our platform also enables clients to integrate custom features and interfaces for their own use through our APIs.

 

Expressiveness. Our platform allows clients to easily define and manage advertising campaigns with multiple targeting parameters that could result in quadrillions of permutations, which we refer to as expressiveness. We believe that expressiveness provides clients with the ability to target audiences with an extremely high level of precision and thus obtain higher returns on their advertising spend.

 

Integrated, Omnichannel and Cross-device. Our platform provides integrated access to a wide range of omnichannel inventory and data sources, as well as third-party services such as ad servers, ad verification services and survey vendors. Our platform’s integration of these sources and services enables our clients to deploy their budgets through a wide variety of channels, media screens and formats, targeted in their desired manner, through a single platform.

Some of the key features of our platform are:

 

Auto-Optimization. We provide auto-optimization features that allow buyers to automate their campaigns and support them with computer generated modeling and decision making. In addition, by giving clients full reporting, budgeting, and bidding transparency, clients can take control of targeting variables when desired, and apply algorithmic automation when appropriate.

 

Advanced Reporting and Analytics Tools. We provide a comprehensive view of consumers’ interactions with the ads purchased through our platform with robust reporting of performance insights across multiple variables, such as audience characteristics, ad format, site category, website, device, creative type, and geography. Better reporting results in better learning, often leading to better campaign optimization and outcomes.

 

Data Management. Our platform enables clients to license a broad selection of data from third-party vendors in a seamless and easy manner, allowing them to further optimize their campaigns with the most relevant data.

 

Koa Artificial Intelligence. Koa, a predictive engine that helps platform users make data-driven decisions without sacrificing control or transparency, makes recommendations for campaign optimizations based on its sophisticated analysis of rich data sets. Advertisers can then choose which optimizations make the most sense for their campaigns.

 

Media Planner. An omnichannel solution designed for digital media professionals to generate, analyze, and launch data-driven, programmatic media plans. This tool analyzes the actions of existing core audiences with the data we see across the open Internet to deliver a fully transparent, performance-focused, and ready-to-activate campaign.

 

Private Marketplace Support. For clients who wish to transact directly with individual publishers, we offer a comprehensive user interface for discovering and transacting via a wide variety of private contracts. Additionally, we offer a solution for advertisers to access publisher inventory via a direct tag in a publisher’s ad server where there is no other programmatic access to such publisher’s inventory.

Our platform enables a media planner or buyer at an advertising agency to:

 

purchase digital media programmatically on various media exchanges and sell-side platforms;

 

acquire and use third-party data to optimize and measure digital advertising campaigns;

 

integrate and deploy their proprietary first-party data with our platform in order to optimize campaign efficacy;

 

monitor and manage ongoing digital advertising campaigns on a real-time basis;

 

link digital campaigns to offline sales results or other business objectives;

 

access other services such as our data management platform and publisher management platform marketplace; and

 

use our user interface and APIs to build their own proprietary technology on top of our platform.

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Our Technology

The core elements of our technology are:

 

Scalable Architecture. Our platform infrastructure is hosted in data centers in eight countries around the world. Our core bidding architecture is easily adaptable to a variety of inventory formats, allowing our platform to communicate with many different inventory sources.

 

Predictive Models. We use the massive data captured by our platform to build predictive models around user characteristics, such as demographic, purchase intent or interest data. Data from our platform is continually fed back into these models, which enables them to improve over time as the use of our platform increases.

 

Performance Optimization. During campaign execution, our optimization engine continually scores a variety of attributes of each impression, such as website, industry vertical or geography, for their likelihood to achieve campaign performance goals. Our bidding engine then shifts bids and budgets in real-time to deliver optimal performance. Additionally, our platform enables clients to set multiple, simultaneous optimization goals for their advertising.

 

Real-time Analytics. Our platform continuously collects data regarding inventory availability. Real-time campaign delivery and spend totals are used to manage campaign budgets and goal caps, as well as campaign reporting. This data is fed back into our optimization engine to improve campaign performance, and into machine-learning models for user demographic predictive modeling.

Our Growth Strategy

The key elements of our long-term growth strategy include:

 

Increase Our Share of Existing Clients’ Digital Advertising Spend. Many advertisers are moving a greater percentage of their advertising budgets to programmatic channels. We believe that this shift will provide us with the opportunity to capture a larger share of the overall advertising spend by our existing clients. Additionally, we plan to promote additional services and data to our clients, helping us grow our business.

 

Grow Our Client Base. We have extensive relationships with many advertising agencies and other service providers, and believe that, given the decentralized nature of the advertising industry, we have the opportunity to expand our relationships within these agencies and with additional agencies, advertisers, and service providers. We expect to continue making investments in growing our sales and client service team to support this strategy.

 

Expand Our Omnichannel Capabilities. We believe offering clients capabilities across all media channels and devices enables advertisers to manage omnichannel campaigns and use data from each channel to inform decisions in other channels. We believe these capabilities will continue to further strengthen our relationships with our clients. We intend to continue to invest in innovation across all channels, including the integration of new inventory sources within CTV, digital radio, social, native, and digital out of home.

 

Extend Our Reach in CTV. Television is the largest category of advertising spend, and we believe that the future of television is in streaming media and video on demand through subscription services and connected devices. We plan to invest significant resources in technology, sales and support staff related to our CTV growth initiatives.

 

Continue to Innovate in Technology and Data. We intend to continue to innovate in technology to improve our platform and enhance its features and functionalities. We view data as one of our key competitive advantages. We will continue to invest resources in growing our data offerings, both from third-party providers as well as our proprietary data.

 

Expand Our International Presence. Many of our clients serve advertisers on a global basis and we intend to expand our presence outside of the United States, or U.S., to serve the needs of those advertisers in additional geographies. As we expand relationships with our existing clients, we are investing in select regions in Europe and Asia. In particular, we believe that China and Indonesia may represent substantial growth opportunities, and we are investing in developing our business in those markets.

 

Build Industry-Wide Collaboration and Support for Unified ID 2.0. We intend to build support for Unified ID 2.0, a new open-source identity framework under development that aims to preserve the value of relevant advertising on the open internet without reliance upon third-party cookies, while giving consumers more transparency and control over their data.

Our Clients

Our clients consist of purchasers of programmatic advertising inventory and data. As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 875 clients, consisting primarily of advertising agencies or groups within advertising agencies that have independent relationships with us, manage budgets independently of one-another, are based in different jurisdictions, and are served by unique Trade Desk teams. Many of these agencies are owned by holding companies, where decision-making is decentralized such that

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purchasing decisions are made, and relationships with advertisers are located, at the agency, local branch or division level. Our client count includes only those parties which have signed MSAs with us and have spent more than $20,000 on our platform.

If all of our individual client contractual relationships were aggregated at the holding company level, two clients would have each represented more than 10% of our gross billings in 2020, two clients would have each represented more than 10% of our gross billings in 2019 and two clients would have each represented more than 10% of our gross billings in 2018. Our contractual and billing arrangement with Omnicom Group Inc. is at the holding company level and accounted for 10% of our gross billings in 2019 and 2018. For Publicis Groupe and WPP plc, we enter into separate contracts and billing relationships with various of its individual agencies and account for them as separate clients. We do not have any contractual relationship with Publicis Groupe or the holding company WPP plc. Publicis Media Inc., which is affiliated with Publicis Groupe, accounted for 11% of our gross billings in 2020, 13% of our gross billings in 2019 and 20% in 2018. WPP plc, if our contractual relationships were aggregated at the holding company level, would have accounted for 11% of gross billings in 2020.

Our clients typically enter into MSAs with us that give users constant access to our platform. The MSAs do not contain any material commitments on behalf of clients to use our platform to purchase ad inventory, data or other features. These MSAs typically have one-year terms that renew automatically for additional one-year periods, unless earlier terminated. The MSAs are typically terminable at any time upon 60 days’ notice by either party.

Our clients are loyal, as reflected by our client retention rate of over 95% in 2020, 2019 and 2018. In addition, our clients typically grow their use of our platform over time.

Our Advertising and Data Inventory Suppliers

For suppliers of programmatic advertising inventory and data, we believe that we are an important business partner, as we represent one of the largest sources of buy-side demand within the digital advertising industry.

We obtain digital advertising inventory from 82 directly integrated ad exchanges and supply-side platforms, providing us with access to a breadth of programmatic advertising inventory across computers, mobile devices and CTV.

For third-party data vendors, we believe that we represent an important distribution channel. As of December 31, 2020, we have integrated our platform with 237 third-party data vendors whose products we make available for purchase through our platform.

Sales and Marketing

Given our self-serve business model, we focus on supporting, advising and training our clients to use our platform independently as soon as they are ready to transact.

Once a new client has access to our platform, they work closely with our client service teams, which onboard the new client and provide continuous support throughout the early campaigns. Typically, once a client has gained some initial experience, it will move to a fully self-serve model and request support as needed.

To help train our clients, suppliers and other digital media participants, we have created an e-learning program called The Trade Desk Edge Academy. We believe that this initiative is an important component in our strategy of enabling rapid onboarding to our platform.

Our marketing efforts are focused on increasing awareness for our brand, executing thought-leadership initiatives, supporting our sales team and generating new leads. We seek to accomplish these objectives by presenting at industry conferences, hosting client conferences, publishing white papers and research, public relations activities, social media presence and advertising campaigns.

Technology and Development

Rapid innovation is a core driver of our business success and our corporate culture. We prioritize and align our product roadmap with our clients’ needs, and we aim to refresh our platform weekly. Our development teams are intentionally lean and nimble in nature, providing for transparency and accountability.

We expect technology and development expense to increase as we continue to invest in the development of our platform to support additional features and functions, increase the number of advertising and data inventory suppliers and ramp up the volume of advertising spending on our platform. We also intend to invest in technology to further automate our business processes.

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Seasonality

In the advertising industry, companies commonly experience seasonal fluctuations in revenue. For example, many advertisers allocate the largest portion of their budgets to the fourth quarter of the calendar year in order to coincide with increased holiday purchasing. Historically, the fourth quarter of the year reflects our highest level of advertising activity and the first quarter reflects the lowest level of such activity. We expect our revenue to continue to fluctuate based on seasonal factors that affect the advertising industry as a whole.

Our Competition

Our industry is highly competitive and fragmented. We compete with other demand-side platform providers, some of which are smaller, privately-held companies and others are divisions of large, well-established companies such as AT&T, Google and Adobe. We believe that we compete primarily based on the performance, capabilities and transparency of our platform and our focus on the buy-side. We believe that we are differentiated from our competitors in the following areas:

 

we are an independent technology company focused on serving advertising agencies and others on the buy-side of our industry;

 

our client relationships are based on MSAs as opposed to campaign-specific insertion orders;

 

our platform provides comprehensive access to a wide range of inventory types and third-party data vendors;

 

our platform allows clients to build proprietary advantages by integrating custom features and interfaces for their own use through our APIs; and

 

our technology provides highly expressive targeting.

In addition, we believe that new entrants would find it difficult to gain direct access to inventory providers, given their limited scale and the costs that additional integrations impose on inventory providers.

Our Human Capital

We believe that our values of vision, agility, grit, openness, generosity and being full-hearted have been an important component of our success. Behind all our innovations are the talented people around the world who bring them to life. To continue to produce such innovations, we believe that it is crucial that we continue to attract and retain top talent. We strive to make The Trade Desk a diverse and inclusive workplace, where our people feel they belong, with opportunities for our employees to grow and develop their careers, supported by strong compensation, benefits and health and wellness programs, and by programs that build connections between our employees and their communities. To ensure we live our values, and our culture stays unique and strong, our board of directors and executive team has put significant focus on our human capital resources.

As of December 31, 2020, we had 1,545 full-time employees in 14 countries. Regionally, North America, APAC (Asia Pacific) and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) make up approximately 66%, 17% and 17% of our workforce, respectively.

Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging in which all employees are empowered to bring their whole, authentic selves to work every day. At The Trade Desk, we believe in the people who work for us, and as part of our investment in our people, we prioritize diversity and inclusion. Our goal is to create a culture where we value, respect, and provide fair treatment and opportunities for all employees. We conduct an employee annual survey to give employees the opportunity to provide feedback on our culture.  This survey is managed by a third-party vendor to encourage candor and solicit feedback on many aspects of engagement, including company leadership, culture, inclusion, and career development.  Our leaders review the survey feedback and work with their teams to take action based on survey results.

We demonstrate this commitment through a strategy of education, celebration, donations to the community, diversifying our talent, and creating forums for internal dialogue and listening. Our global leadership team is 64% male and 36% female.

Talent Development

Despite our rapid growth, we still cherish our roots as a startup and our company culture of ownership. We empower employees to develop their skills and abilities by acting on great ideas regardless of their role or function, which translates into personal investment in building our organization. We work to provide an environment where talented individuals and teams can thrive in fulfilling careers.

To set our global team up for success, we define key competencies for roles that are aligned to our values and extend to all levels of leadership regardless of experience and role. We encourage everyone to create individual development plans leveraging

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competency frameworks tied into their chosen career path, outlining a specific plan and actions to increase proficiency or learn new skills. We seek to provide a wide range of learning and development opportunities in both individual and group settings with formal, social and experiential learning.

Compensation and Benefits

We provide compensation and benefits programs to help meet the needs of our employees and reward their efforts and contributions. We seek fairness in total compensation with reference to external comparisons, internal comparisons and the relationship between management and non-management compensation.

In addition to salaries, we provide competitive compensation programs commensurate with our peers and industry.  Such compensation and benefit programs may include bonuses, equity awards, 401(k) plans, healthcare and insurance benefits, health savings and flexible spending accounts, paid time off, family leave, family care resources, employee assistance programs and tuition assistance, among many others. Such programs and our overall compensation packages seek to facilitate retention of key personnel.

Health, Safety and Wellness

The success of our business is fundamentally connected to the well-being of our people. Accordingly, we are committed to the health, safety, and wellness of our employees. We provide our employees and their families with access to a variety of innovative, flexible, and convenient health and wellness programs. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented significant changes such as implementing and facilitating teleworking that we determined were in the best interest of our employees, as well as the communities in which we operate, and which comply with government regulations. We continue to evolve our programs to meet our employees’ health and wellness needs.  

Development of International Markets

We have been increasing our focus on markets outside the U.S. to serve the global needs of our clients. We believe that the global opportunity for programmatic advertising is significant and should continue to expand as publishers and advertisers outside the U.S. seek to adopt the benefits that programmatic advertising provides. To capitalize on this opportunity, we intend to continue investing in our presence internationally. Our growth and the success of our initiatives in newer markets will depend on the continued adoption of our platform by our existing clients, as well as new clients, in these markets. Information about our geographic gross billings is set forth in Note 12—Segment and Geographic Information of “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Intellectual Property

The protection of our technology and intellectual property is an important component of our success. We rely on intellectual property laws, including trade secret, copyright, patent and trademark laws in the U.S. and abroad, and use contracts, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements and other contractual rights to protect our intellectual property. We have a small number of patents, however, historically, we have not patented our proprietary technology in order to keep our technology architecture, trade secrets, and engineering roadmap private. Our patent applications may not result in the issuance of any patents, and any issued patents may not actually provide adequate defensive protection or competitive advantages to us. Our ability to continually develop new intellectual property and deliver new functionality quickly serves to protect us against competitors in digital advertising technology. We believe our platform is difficult to replicate and would be expensive and time-consuming to build.

Collection and Use of Data; Privacy and Data Protection Legislation and Regulation

We and our clients currently use pseudonymous data about Internet and mobile app users on our platform to manage and execute digital advertising campaigns in a variety of ways, including delivering advertisements to end users based on their geographic locations, the type of device they are using, their interests as inferred from their web browsing or app usage activity, or their relationships with our clients. Such data is passed to us from third parties, including original equipment manufacturers, application providers, and publishers. We do not use this data to discover the identity of individuals, and we currently prohibit clients, data providers and inventory suppliers from importing data that directly identifies individuals onto our platform.

Our ability, like those of other advertising technology companies, to collect, augment, analyze, use and share data relies upon the ability to uniquely identify devices across websites and applications, and to collect data about user interactions with those devices for purposes such as serving relevant ads and measuring the effectiveness of ads. The processes used to identify devices and similar and associated technologies are governed by U.S. and foreign laws and regulations and dependent upon their implementation within the industry ecosystem. Such laws, regulations, and industry standards may change from time to time, including those relating to the level of consumer notice, consent and/or choice required when a company employs cookies or other electronic tools to collect data about interactions with users online.

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In the U.S., both federal and state legislation govern activities such as the collection and use of data, and privacy in the advertising technology industry has frequently been subject to review by the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”), U.S. Congress, and individual states. Much of the federal oversight on digital advertising in the U.S. currently comes from the FTC, which has primarily relied upon Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits companies from engaging in “unfair” or “deceptive” trade practices, including alleged violations of representations concerning privacy protections and acts that allegedly violate individuals’ privacy interests. However, there is increasing consumer concern over data privacy in recent years, which has led to a myriad of proposed legislation and new legislation both at the federal and state levels, some of which has affected and will continue to affect our operations and those of our industry partners. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the “CCPA”), which went into effect January 1, 2020, defines “personal information” broadly enough to include online identifiers provided by individuals’ devices, applications, and protocols (such as IP addresses, mobile application identifiers and unique cookie identifiers) and individuals’ location data, if there is potential that individuals can be identified by such data.

The CCPA creates individual data privacy rights for consumers in the State of California (including rights to deletion of and access to personal information), imposes special rules on the collection of consumer data from minors, creates new notice obligations and new limits on and rules regarding the “sale” of personal information (interpreted by many observers to include common advertising practices), and creates a new and potentially severe statutory damages framework for violations of the CCPA and for businesses that fail to implement reasonable security procedures and practices to prevent data breaches. The CCPA also offers the possibility to a consumer to recover statutory damages for certain violations and could open the door more broadly to additional risks of individual and class-action lawsuits even though the statute’s private right of action is limited in scope. There have been many class action lawsuits filed invoking the CCPA outside of the private right of action provided for by the law. It is unclear at this point whether any of these claims will be accepted by the courts. In addition, the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, recently passed, which will impose additional notice and opt out obligations on the digital advertising space, including an obligation to provide an opt out for behavioral advertising. When the CPRA goes into full effect in January 2023, it will impose additional restrictions on us and on our industry partners; it is difficult to predict with certainty the full effect of the CPRA and its implementing regulations on the industry.

As our business is global, our activities are also subject to foreign legislation and regulation. In the European Union (including the European Economic Area (the “EEA”) and the countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), or EU, separate laws and regulations (and member states’ implementations thereof) govern the processing of personal data, and these laws and regulations continue to impact us. The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which applies to us, came into effect on May 25, 2018. Like the CCPA, the GDPR defines “personal data” broadly, and it enhances data protection obligations for controllers of such data and for service providers processing the data. It also provides certain rights, such as access and deletion, to the individuals about whom the personal data relates. The digital advertising industry has collaborated to create a user-facing framework for establishing and managing legal bases under the GDPR and other EU privacy laws including ePrivacy (discussed below). Although the framework is actively in use, it is under attack by the Belgian Data Protection Authority and others and we cannot predict its effectiveness over the long term.  European regulators have questioned the framework’s viability and activists have filed complaints with regulators of alleged non-compliance by specific companies that employ the framework. Continuing to maintain compliance with the GDPR’s requirements, including monitoring and adjusting to rulings and interpretations that affect our approach to compliance, requires significant time, resources and expense, and may lead to significant changes in our business operations, as will the effort to monitor whether additional changes to our business practices and our backend configuration are needed, all of which may increase operating costs, or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.

Additionally, in the EU, EU Directive 2002/58/EC (as amended by Directive 2009/136/EC), commonly referred to as the ePrivacy or Cookie Directive, directs EU member states to ensure that accessing information on an Internet user’s computer, such as through a cookie and other similar technologies, is allowed only if the Internet user has been informed about such access, and provided consent. A recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union clarified that such consent must be reflected by an affirmative act of the user, and European regulators are increasingly agitating for more robust forms of consent. These developments may result in decreased reliance on implied consent mechanisms that have been used to meet requirements of the Cookie Directive in some markets. A replacement for the Cookie Directive is currently under discussion by EU member states to complement and bring electronic communication services in line with the GDPR and force a harmonized approach across EU member states. Although it remains under debate, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation may further raise the bar for the use of cookies, and the fines and penalties for breach may be significant. We cannot yet determine the impact such future laws, regulations, and standards may have on our business.

For the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S., like many U.S. and European companies, we have relied upon, and are currently certified under, the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks. The Privacy Shield Framework, however, was struck down in July 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union as an adequate mechanism by which EU companies may pass personal data to the US. Other EU mechanisms for adequate data transfer, such as the standard contractual clauses, were also questioned by the Court of Justice and whether and how standard contractual clauses can be used to transfer personal data to the U.S. is in question. If there is no interim agreement and standard clauses also cannot be used, we could be left with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data. If successful challenges leave us with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data, and if we nonetheless continue to transfer personal data from the EU to the U.S., that could lead to governmental enforcement actions, litigation, fines and penalties or adverse publicity which could have an adverse effect on our reputation and business or cause us to need to establish systems to maintain certain data in the EU, which may involve substantial

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expense and cause us to need to divert resources from other aspects of our operations. Other jurisdictions have adopted or are considering cross-border or data residency restrictions, which could reduce the amount of data we can collect or process and, as a result, significantly impact our business. It remains unclear how the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, or U.K., from the European Union, referred to as Brexit, will affect transborder data flows, regulators’ jurisdiction over our business, and other matters related to how we do business and how we comply with applicable data protection laws. Accordingly, we cannot predict the additional expense, impact on revenue, or other business impact that may stem from Brexit.

As the collection and use of data for digital advertising has received media attention over the past several years, some government regulators, such as the FTC, and privacy advocates have suggested creating a “Do Not Track” standard that would allow Internet users to express a preference, independent of cookie settings in their browser, not to have their online browsing activities tracked. The CPRA similarly contemplates the use of technical opt outs for the sale and sharing of personal information for advertising purposes as well as to opt out of the use of sensitive information for advertising purposes, and allows for AG rulemaking to develop these technical signals. If a “Do Not Track,” “Do Not Sell,” or similar control is adopted by many Internet users or if a “Do Not Track” standard is imposed by state, federal, or foreign legislation (as it arguably is to some degree under the CCPA regulations), or is agreed upon by standard setting groups, we may have to change our business practices, our clients may reduce their use of our platform, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We participate in several industry self-regulatory programs, mainly initiated by the Network Advertising Initiative, or NAI, the Digital Advertising Alliance, or DAA, and their international counterparts. Our efforts to comply with the self-regulatory principles of these programs include offering end users notice and choice when advertising is served to them based, in part, on their interests. We believe that this user-centric approach to addressing consumer privacy empowers consumers to make informed decisions on the use of their data.

Available Information

We file Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements, and related amendments, exhibits and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). You may access and read our filings without charge through the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov or through our website at http://investors.thetradedesk.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after such materials are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).

Website addresses referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are not intended to function as hyperlinks, and the information contained on our website is not incorporated into, and does not form a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other report or documents we file with or furnish to the SEC.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors

Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information contained in this Annual Report, including the consolidated financial statements and the related notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, before making investment decisions related to our Class A common stock. If any of the following risks are realized, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

If we fail to maintain and grow our client base and spend through our platform, our revenue and business may be negatively impacted.

To sustain or increase our revenue, we must regularly add new clients and encourage existing clients to maintain or increase the amount of advertising inventory purchased through our platform and adopt new features and functionalities that we make available. If competitors introduce lower cost or differentiated offerings that compete with or are perceived to compete with ours, our ability to sell our services to new or existing clients could be impaired. We have spent significant effort in cultivating our relationships with advertising agencies, which has resulted in an increase in the budgets allocated to, and the amount of advertising purchased on, our platform. However, it is possible that we may reach a point of saturation at which we cannot continue to grow our revenue from such agencies because of internal limits that advertisers may place on the allocation of their advertising budgets to digital media to a particular provider or otherwise. While we generally have MSAs in place with our clients, such agreements allow our clients to change the amount they spend through our platform or terminate our services with limited notice. We do not typically have exclusive relationships with our clients and there is limited cost to moving their media spend to our competitors. As a result, we have limited visibility to our future advertising revenue streams. We cannot assure you that our clients will continue to use our platform or that we will be able to replace, in a timely or effective manner, departing clients with new clients that generate comparable revenue. If a major client representing a significant portion of our business decides to materially reduce its use of our platform or to cease using our platform altogether, it is possible that our revenue or revenue growth rate could be significantly reduced, and our business negatively impacted.

The loss of advertising agencies as clients could significantly harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our client base consists primarily of advertising agencies. We do not have exclusive relationships with advertising agencies, and we depend on agencies to work with us to build and maintain advertiser relationships and execute advertising campaigns.

The loss of agencies as clients could significantly harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. If we fail to maintain satisfactory relationships with an advertising agency, we risk losing business from the advertisers represented by that agency.

Advertisers may change advertising agencies. If an advertiser switches from an agency that utilizes our platform to one that does not, we will lose revenue from that advertiser. In addition, some advertising agencies have their own relationships with suppliers of advertising inventory and can directly connect advertisers with such suppliers. Our business may suffer to the extent that advertising agencies and inventory suppliers purchase and sell advertising inventory directly from one another or through intermediaries other than us.

We had approximately 875 clients, consisting primarily of advertising agencies, as of December 31, 2020. Many of these agencies are owned by holding companies, where decision making is decentralized such that purchasing decisions are made, and relationships with advertisers, are located, at the agency, local branch, or division level. If all of our individual client contractual relationships were aggregated at the holding company level, Publicis Groupe and WPP plc would have each represented more than 10% of our gross billings for 2020.

In most cases, we enter into separate contracts and billing relationships with the individual agencies and account for them as separate clients. However, some holding companies for these agencies may choose to exert control over the individual agencies in the future. If so, any loss of relationships with such holding companies and, consequently, of their agencies, local branches or divisions, as clients could significantly harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

If we fail to innovate or make the right investment decisions in our offerings and platform, we may not attract and retain advertisers and advertising agencies and our revenue and results of operations may decline.

Our industry is subject to rapid and frequent changes in technology, evolving client needs and the frequent introduction by our competitors of new and enhanced offerings. We must constantly make investment decisions regarding offerings and technology to meet client demand and evolving industry standards. We may make bad decisions regarding these investments. If new or existing competitors have more attractive offerings, we may lose clients or clients may decrease their use of our platform. New client demands, superior competitive offerings or new industry standards could require us to make unanticipated and costly changes to our platform or business model. In addition, as we develop and introduce new products and services, including those incorporating or utilizing

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artificial intelligence and machine learning, they may raise new, or heighten existing, technological, legal and other challenges, and may cause unintended consequences, may not function properly or may be misused by our clients. If we fail to adapt to our rapidly changing industry or to evolving client needs, or we provide new products and services that exacerbate technological, legal or other challenges, demand for our platform could decrease and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

The market for programmatic buying for advertising campaigns is relatively new and evolving. If this market develops slower or differently than we expect, our business, growth prospects and financial condition would be adversely affected.

The substantial majority of our revenue has been derived from clients that programmatically purchase advertising inventory through our platform. We expect that spending on programmatic ad buying will continue to be our primary source of revenue for the foreseeable future and that our revenue growth will largely depend on increasing spend through our platform. The market for programmatic ad buying is an emerging market, and our current and potential clients may not shift to programmatic ad buying from other buying methods as quickly as we expect, which would reduce our growth potential. If the market for programmatic ad buying deteriorates or develops more slowly than we expect, it could reduce demand for our platform, and our business, growth prospects and financial condition would be adversely affected.

In addition, our revenue may not necessarily grow at the same rate as spend on our platform. As the market for programmatic buying for advertising matures, growth in spend may outpace growth in our revenue due to a number of factors, including pricing competition, quantity discounts and shifts in product, media, client and channel mix. A significant change in revenue as a percentage of spend could reflect an adverse change in our business and growth prospects. In addition, any such fluctuations, even if they reflect our strategic decisions, could cause our performance to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, and adversely affect the price of our common stock.

The effects of health epidemics, such as the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, have had, and could in the future have, an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business and operations have been and could in the future be adversely affected by health epidemics, such as the global COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to control its spread have curtailed the movement of people, goods and services worldwide, including in the regions in which we and our clients and partners operate, and are significantly impacting economic activity and financial markets. Many marketers have decreased or paused their advertising spending as a response to the economic uncertainty, decline in business activity, and other COVID-related impacts, which have negatively impacted, and may continue to negatively impact, our revenue and results of operations, the extent and duration of which we may not be able to accurately predict. In addition, our clients’ and advertisers’ businesses or cash flows have been and may continue to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has and may continue to lead them to seek adjustments to payment terms or delay making payments or default on their payables, any of which may impact the timely receipt and/or collectability of our receivables. Typically, we are contractually required to pay advertising inventory and data suppliers within a negotiated period of time, regardless of whether our clients pay us on time, or at all, and we may not be able to renegotiate better terms. As a result, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely impacted.

Our operations are subject to a range of external factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic that are not within our control. We have taken precautionary measures intended to minimize the risk of the spread of the virus to our employees, partners and clients, and the communities in which we operate. A wide range of governmental restrictions has also been imposed on our employees, clients and partners’ physical movement to limit the spread of COVID-19. There can be no assurance that precautionary measures, whether adopted by us or imposed by others, will be effective, and such measures could negatively affect our sales, marketing, and client service efforts, delay and lengthen our sales cycles, decrease our employees’, clients’, or partners’ productivity, or create operational or other challenges, any of which could harm our business and results of operations.

The economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made and may continue to make it difficult for us to forecast revenue and operating results and to make decisions regarding operational cost structures and investments. We have committed, and we plan to continue to commit, resources to grow our business, including to expand our international presence, employee base, and technology development, and such investments may not yield anticipated returns, particularly if worldwide business activity continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The duration and extent of the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic depend on future developments that cannot be accurately predicted at this time, and if we are not able to respond to and manage the impact of such events effectively, our business may be harmed.

The market in which we participate is intensely competitive, and we may not be able to compete successfully with our current or future competitors.

We operate in a highly competitive and rapidly changing industry. We expect competition to persist and intensify in the future, which could harm our ability to increase revenue and maintain profitability. New technologies and methods of buying advertising present a dynamic competitive challenge, as market participants develop and offer new products and services aimed at capturing advertising spend or disrupting the digital marketing landscape, such as analytics, automated media buying and exchanges.

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We may also face competition from new companies entering the market, including large established companies and companies that we do not yet know about or do not yet exist. If existing or new companies develop, market or resell competitive high-value products or services that result in additional competition for advertising spend or advertising inventory or if they acquire one of our existing competitors or form a strategic alliance with one of our competitors, our ability to compete effectively could be significantly compromised and our results of operations could be harmed.

Our current and potential competitors may have significantly more financial, technical, marketing, and other resources than we have, which may allow them to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, sale and support of their products and services. They may also have more extensive advertiser bases and broader publisher relationships than we have, and may be better positioned to execute on advertising conducted over certain channels, such as social media, mobile, and video. Some of our competitors may have a longer operating history and greater name recognition. As a result, these competitors may be better able to respond quickly to new technologies, develop deeper advertiser relationships or offer services at lower prices. Any of these developments would make it more difficult for us to sell our platform and could result in increased pricing pressure, increased sales and marketing expense, or the loss of market share.

We often have long sales cycles, which can result in significant time between initial contact with a prospect and execution of a client agreement, making it difficult to project when, if at all, we will obtain new clients and when we will generate revenue from those clients.

Our sales cycle, from initial contact to contract execution and implementation can take significant time. Our sales efforts involve educating our clients about the use, technical capabilities and benefits of our platform. Some of our clients undertake an evaluation process that frequently involves not only our platform but also the offerings of our competitors. As a result, it is difficult to predict when we will obtain new clients and begin generating revenue from these new clients. Even if our sales efforts result in obtaining a new client, under our usage-based pricing model, the client controls when and to what extent it uses our platform. As a result, we may not be able to add clients or generate revenue as quickly as we may expect, which could harm our revenue growth rates.

We are subject to payment-related risks that may adversely affect our business, working capital, financial condition and results of operations, including from advertising agencies that do not pay us until they receive payment from their advertisers and from clients that dispute or do not pay their invoices.

Spend on our platform primarily comes through our agency clients. Many of our contracts with advertising agencies provide that if the advertiser does not pay the agency, the agency is not liable to us, and we must seek payment solely from the advertiser, a type of arrangement called sequential liability. Contracting with these agencies, which in some cases have or may develop higher-risk credit profiles, may subject us to greater credit risk than if we were to contract directly with advertisers. This credit risk may vary depending on the nature of an advertising agency’s aggregated advertiser base. In addition, typically, we are contractually required to pay advertising inventory and data suppliers within a negotiated period of time, regardless of whether our clients pay us on time, or at all. In addition, we typically experience slow payment cycles by advertising agencies as is common in our industry. While we attempt to negotiate long payment periods with our suppliers and shorter periods from our clients, we are not always successful. As a result, we often face a timing issue with our accounts payable on shorter cycles than our accounts receivables, requiring us to remit payments from our own funds, and accept the risk of credit loss.

This collections and payments cycle may increasingly consume working capital if we continue to be successful in growing our business. If we are unable to borrow on commercially acceptable terms, our working capital availability could be reduced, and as a consequence, our financial condition and results of operations would be adversely impacted.

We may also be involved in disputes with clients, and in the case of agencies, their advertisers, over the operation of our platform, the terms of our agreements or our billings for purchases made by them through our platform. If we are unable to resolve disputes with our clients, we may lose clients or clients may decrease their use of our platform and our financial performance and growth may be adversely affected. If we are unable to collect or make adjustments to bills to clients, we could incur write-offs for credit loss, which could harm our results of operations. In the future, credit loss may exceed reserves for such contingencies and our credit loss exposure may increase over time. Any increase in write-offs for credit loss could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. Even if we are not paid by our clients on time or at all, we are still obligated to pay for the advertising inventory, third-party data, and other add-on features that clients purchase on our platform, and as a consequence, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely impacted.

Any decrease in the use of the advertising channels that we are primarily dependent upon, failure to expand the use of emerging channels, or unexpected shift in use among the channels in which we operate, could harm our growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Historically, our clients have predominantly used our platform to purchase mobile, display and video advertising inventory. We expect that these will continue to be significant channels used by our clients for digital advertising in the future. We also believe that our revenue growth may depend on our ability to expand within social, native, audio, and in particular, CTV, and we have been, and

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are continuing to, enhance such channels. Any decrease in the use of mobile, display and video advertising, whether due to clients losing confidence in the value or effectiveness of such channels, regulatory restrictions or other causes, or any inability to further penetrate social, native, audio, CTV or enter new and emerging advertising channels, could harm our growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Each advertising channel presents distinct and substantial risk and, in many cases, requires us to continue to develop additional functionality or features to address the particular requirements of the channel. Our ability to provide capabilities across multiple advertising channels, which we refer to as omnichannel, may be constrained if we are not be able to maintain or grow advertising inventory for such channels, and some of our omnichannel offerings may not gain market acceptance. We may not be able to accurately predict changes in overall advertiser demand for the channels in which we operate and cannot assure you that our investment in channel development will correspond to any such changes. Furthermore, if our channel mix changes due to a shift in client demand, such as clients shifting their spending more quickly or more extensively than expected to channels in which we have relatively less functionality, features, or inventory, then demand for our platform could decrease, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We may experience fluctuations in our results of operations, which could make our future results of operations difficult to predict or cause our results of operations to fall below analysts’ and investors’ expectations.

Our quarterly and annual results of operations have fluctuated in the past and we expect our future results of operations to fluctuate due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Fluctuations in our results of operations could cause our performance to fall below the expectations of analysts and investors, and adversely affect the price of our common stock. Because our business is changing and evolving rapidly, our historical results of operations may not be necessarily indicative of our future results of operations. Factors that may cause our results of operations to fluctuate include the following:

 

changes in demand for programmatic advertising and for our platform, including related to the seasonal nature of our clients’ spending on digital advertising campaigns;

 

changes to availability of and pricing of competitive products and services, and their effects on our pricing;

 

changes the pricing or availability of inventory, data or other third-party services;

 

changes in our client base and platform offerings;

 

the addition or loss of advertising agencies and advertisers as clients;

 

changes in advertising budget allocations, agency affiliations or marketing strategies;

 

changes to our product, media, client or channel mix;

 

changes and uncertainty in the regulatory environment for us, advertisers or others in the advertising industry, and the effects of our efforts and those of our clients and partners to address changes and uncertainty in the regulatory environment;

 

changes in the economic prospects of advertisers or the economy generally, which could alter advertisers’ spending priorities, or could increase the time or costs required to complete advertising inventory sales;

 

changes in the pricing and availability of advertising inventory through real-time advertising exchanges or in the cost of reaching end consumers through digital advertising;

 

disruptions or outages on our platform;

 

factors beyond our control, such as natural disasters, terrorism, war and public health crises;

 

the introduction of new technologies or offerings by our competitors or others in the advertising marketplace;

 

changes in our capital expenditures as we acquire the hardware, equipment and other assets required to support our business;

 

timing differences between our payments for advertising inventory and our collection of related advertising revenue;

 

the length and unpredictability of our sales cycle;

 

costs related to acquisitions of businesses or technologies and development of new products;

 

cost of employee recruiting and retention; and

 

changes to the cost of infrastructure, including real estate and information technology.

Based upon the factors above and others beyond our control, we have a limited ability to forecast our future revenue, costs and expenses. If we fail to meet or exceed the operating results expectations of analysts and investors or if analysts and investors have

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estimates and forecasts of our future performance that are unrealistic or that we do not meet, the market price of our common stock could decline. In addition, if one or more of the analysts who cover us adversely change their recommendation regarding our stock, the market price of our common stock could decline.

 

If our access to quality advertising inventory is diminished or fails to expand, our revenue could decline and our growth could be impeded.

We must maintain a consistent supply of attractive ad inventory. Our success depends on our ability to secure quality inventory on reasonable terms across a broad range of advertising networks and exchanges and social media platforms, including video, display, CTV, audio and mobile inventory. The amount, quality and cost of inventory available to us can change at any time. A few inventory suppliers hold a significant portion of the programmatic inventory either generally or concentrated in a particular channel, such as audio and social media. In addition, we compete with companies with which we have business relationships. For example, Google is one of our largest advertising inventory suppliers in addition to being one of our competitors. If Google or any other company with attractive advertising inventory limits our access to its advertising inventory, our business could be adversely affected. If our relationships with certain of our suppliers were to cease, or if the material terms of these relationships were to change unfavorably, our business would be negatively impacted. Our suppliers are generally not bound by long-term contracts. As a result, there is no guarantee that we will have access to a consistent supply of quality inventory on favorable terms. If we are unable to compete favorably for advertising inventory available on real-time advertising exchanges, or if real-time advertising exchanges decide not to make their advertising inventory available to us, we may not be able to place advertisements or find alternative sources of inventory with comparable traffic patterns and consumer demographics in a timely manner. Furthermore, the inventory that we access through real-time advertising exchanges may be of low quality or misrepresented to us, despite attempts by us and our suppliers to prevent fraud and conduct quality assurance checks.

Inventory suppliers control the bidding process, rules and procedures for the inventory they supply, and their processes may not always work in our favor. For example, suppliers may place restrictions on the use of their inventory, including prohibiting the placement of advertisements on behalf of specific advertisers. Through the bidding process, we may not win the right to deliver advertising to the inventory that is selected through our platform and may not be able to replace inventory that is no longer made available to us.

As new types of inventory become available, we will need to expend significant resources to ensure we have access to such new inventory. For example, although television advertising is a large market, only a very small percentage of it is currently purchased through digital advertising exchanges. We are investing heavily in our programmatic television offering, including by increasing our workforce and by adding new features, functions and integrations to our platform. If the CTV market does not grow as we anticipate or we fail to successfully serve such market, our growth prospects could be harmed.

Our success depends on consistently adding valued inventory in a cost-effective manner. If we are unable to maintain a consistent supply of quality inventory for any reason, client retention and loyalty, and our financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.

Economic downturns and market conditions beyond our control could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business depends on the overall demand for advertising and on the economic health of advertisers that benefit from our platform. Economic downturns or unstable market conditions may cause advertisers to decrease or pause their advertising budgets, which could reduce spend though our platform and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. As described above, public health crises may disrupt the operations of our customers and partners for an unknown period of time, including as a result of travel restrictions and/or business shutdowns, all of which could negatively impact our business and results of operations, including cash flows. As we explore new countries to expand our business, economic downturns or unstable market conditions in any of those countries could result in our investments not yielding the returns we anticipate.

Seasonal fluctuations in advertising activity could have a negative impact on our revenue, cash flow and results of operations.

Our revenue, cash flow, results of operations and other key operating and performance metrics may vary from quarter to quarter due to the seasonal nature of our clients’ spending on advertising campaigns. For example, clients tend to devote more of their advertising budgets to the fourth calendar quarter to coincide with consumer holiday spending. Moreover, advertising inventory in the fourth quarter may be more expensive due to increased demand for it. Political advertising could also cause our revenue to increase during election cycles and decrease during other periods. Our historical revenue growth has lessened the impact of seasonality, however, seasonality could have a more significant impact on our revenue, cash flow and results of operations from period to period if our growth rate declines, if seasonal spending becomes more pronounced, or if seasonality otherwise differs from our expectations.

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Failure to manage our growth effectively could cause our business to suffer and have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We have experienced and continue to experience significant growth in a short period of time. To manage our growth effectively, we must continually evaluate and evolve our organization. We must also manage our employees, operations, finances, technology and development and capital investments efficiently. Our efficiency, productivity and the quality of our platform and client service may be adversely impacted if we do not train our new personnel, particularly our sales and support personnel, quickly and effectively, or if we fail to appropriately coordinate across our organization. Additionally, our rapid growth may place a strain on our resources, infrastructure and ability to maintain the quality of our platform. Our revenue growth and levels of profitability in recent periods should not be considered as indicative of future performance. In future periods, our revenue or profitability could decline or grow more slowly than we expect. Failure to manage our growth effectively could cause our business to suffer and have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

As our costs increase, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to sustain profitability.

We have expended significant resources to grow our business in recent years by increasing the offerings of our platform, growing our number of employees and expanding internationally. Despite the initial decline in revenue in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we anticipate continued growth that could require substantial financial and other resources to, among other things:

 

develop our platform, including by investing in our engineering team, creating, acquiring or licensing new products or features, and improving the availability and security of our platform;

 

continue to expand internationally by growing our sales force and client services team in an effort to increase our client base and spend through our platform, and by adding inventory and data from countries our clients are seeking;

 

improve our technology infrastructure, including investing in internal technology development and acquiring outside technologies;

 

expand our platform’s reach in new and growing channels such as CTV, including expanding the supply of CTV inventory;

 

cover general and administrative expenses, including legal, accounting and other expenses necessary to support a larger organization;

 

cover sales and marketing expenses, including a significant expansion of our direct sales organization;

 

cover expenses relating to data collection and consumer privacy compliance, including additional infrastructure, automation and personnel; and

 

explore strategic acquisitions.

Investing in the foregoing, however, may not yield anticipated returns, especially during the period of impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, as our costs increase, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to sustain profitability.

We allow our clients to utilize application programming interfaces, or APIs, with our platform, which could result in outages or security breaches and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The use of APIs by our clients has significantly increased in recent years. Our APIs allow clients to build their own media buying and data management interface by using our APIs to develop custom integration of their business with our platform. The increased use of APIs increases security and operational risks to our systems, including the risk for intrusion attacks, data theft, or denial of service attacks. Furthermore, while APIs allow clients greater ease and power in accessing our platform, they also increase the risk of overusing our systems, potentially causing outages. We have experienced system slowdowns due to client overuse of our systems through our APIs. While we have taken measures intended to decrease security and outage risks associated with the use of APIs, we cannot guarantee that such measures will be successful. Our failure to prevent outages or security breaches resulting from API use could result in government enforcement actions against us, claims for damages by consumers and other affected individuals, costs associated with investigation and remediation damage to our reputation and loss of goodwill, any of which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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We may experience outages and disruptions on our platform if we fail to maintain adequate security and supporting infrastructure as we scale our platform, which may harm our reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

As we grow our business, we expect to continue to invest in technology services and equipment, including data centers, network services and database technologies, as well as potentially increase our reliance on open source software. Without these improvements, our operations might suffer from unanticipated system disruptions, slow transaction processing, unreliable service levels, impaired quality or delays in reporting accurate information regarding transactions in our platform, any of which could negatively affect our reputation and ability to attract and retain clients. In addition, the expansion and improvement of our systems and infrastructure may require us to commit substantial financial, operational and technical resources, with no assurance our business will increase. If we fail to respond to technological change or to adequately maintain, expand, upgrade and develop our systems and infrastructure in a timely fashion, our growth prospects and results of operations could be adversely affected. The steps we take to increase the reliability, integrity and security of our platform as it scales are expensive and complex, and our execution could result in operational failures and increased vulnerability to cyberattacks. Such cyberattacks could include denial-of-service attacks impacting service availability (including the ability to deliver ads) and reliability, tricking company employees into releasing control of their systems to a hacker, or the introduction of computer viruses or malware into our systems with a view to steal confidential or proprietary data. Cyberattacks of increasing sophistication may be difficult to detect and could result in the theft of our intellectual property and data from our platform. We are also vulnerable to unintentional errors or malicious actions by persons with authorized access to our systems that exceed the scope of their access rights, distribute data erroneously, or, unintentionally or intentionally, interfere with the intended operations of our platform. Moreover, we could be adversely impacted by outages and disruptions in the online platforms of our inventory and data suppliers, such as real-time advertising exchanges. Outages and disruptions of our platform, including due to cyberattacks, may harm our reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Operational performance and internal control issues with our platform, whether real or perceived, including a failure to respond to technological changes or to upgrade our technology systems, may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We depend upon the sustained and uninterrupted performance of our platform to manage our inventory supply; bid on inventory for each campaign; collect, process and interpret data; optimize campaign performance in real time; and provide billing information to our financial systems. If our platform cannot scale to meet demand, if there are errors in our execution of any of these functions on our platform or if we experience outages, then our business may be harmed. We may also face material delays in introducing new services, products and enhancements. If competitors introduce new products and services using new technologies or if new industry standards and practices emerge, our existing proprietary technology and systems may become obsolete.

Our platform is complex and multifaceted, and operational and performance issues could arise both from the platform itself and from outside factors. Errors, failures, vulnerabilities and bugs have been found in the past, and may be found in the future. Our platform also relies on third-party technology and systems to perform properly and is often used in connection with computing environments utilizing different operating systems, system management software, equipment and networking configurations, which may cause errors in, or failures of, our platform or such other computing environments. Operational and performance issues with our platform could include the failure of our user interface, outages, errors during upgrades or patches, discrepancies in costs billed versus costs paid, unanticipated volume overwhelming our databases, server failure, or catastrophic events affecting one or more server farms. While we have built redundancies in our systems, full redundancies do not exist. Some failures will shut our platform down completely, others only partially. Partial failures, which we have experienced in the past, could result in unauthorized bidding, cessation of our ability to bid or deliver impressions or deletion of our reporting, in each case resulting in unanticipated financial obligations or impact.

Operational, performance and internal control issues with our platform could also result in negative publicity, damage to our brand and reputation, loss of clients, loss of or delay in market acceptance of our platform, increased costs or loss of revenue, loss of the ability to access our platform, loss of competitive position, claims by clients for losses sustained by them and loss of stockholder confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports. Alleviating problems resulting from such issues could require significant expenditures of capital and other resources and could cause interruptions, delays or the cessation of our business, any of which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If unauthorized access is obtained to user, client or inventory and third-party provider data, or our platform is compromised, our services may be disrupted or perceived as insecure, and as a result, we may lose existing clients or fail to attract new clients, and we may incur significant reputational harm and legal and financial liabilities.

Our products and services involve the storage and transmission of significant amounts of data from users, clients, and inventory and data providers, a large volume of which is hosted by third-party service providers. Our services and data could be exposed to unauthorized access due to activities that breach or undermine security measures, including: negligence or malfeasance by internal or external actors; attempts by outside parties to fraudulently induce employees, clients or vendors to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our data; or errors or vulnerabilities in our systems, products or processes or in those of our service providers, clients, and vendors. For example, from time to time, we experience cyberattacks of varying degrees and other attempts to obtain unauthorized access to our systems, including to employee mailboxes. We have dedicated and expect to continue to dedicate resources toward security protections that shield data from these activities. However, such measures cannot provide absolute security. Further,

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we can expect that the deployment of techniques to circumvent our security measures may occur with more frequency and sophistication and may not be recognized until launched against a target. Accordingly, we may be unable to anticipate or detect these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. Finally, while we have developed worldwide incident response teams and dedicated resources to incident response processes, such processes could, among other issues, fail to be adequate or accurately assess the incident severity, not proceed quickly enough, or fail to sufficiently remediate an incident.

A breach of our security and/or our failure to respond sufficiently to a security incident could disrupt our services and result in theft, misuse, loss, corruption, or improper use or disclosure of data. This could result in government investigations, enforcement actions and other legal and financial liability, and/or loss of confidence in the availability and security of our products and services, all of which could seriously harm our reputation and brand and impair our ability to attract and retain clients. While we contractually prohibit clients, data providers and inventory suppliers from importing or otherwise providing information that directly identifies individuals onto our platform, if a partner provided such information in violation of our policies and our systems are breached, we could be subject to contractual breach and indemnification claims from other clients and partners. Our platform may also receive data or information that was identifiable prior to such data and information being aggregated or pseudonymized, and if our systems are breached and such data or information is compromised, it could be damaging to our brand, reputation, and business.  Cyberattacks could also compromise our own trade secrets and other sensitive information and result in such information being disclosed to others and becoming less valuable, which could negatively affect our business.

Privacy and data protection laws to which we are subject may cause us to incur additional or unexpected costs, subject us to enforcement actions for compliance failures, or cause us to change our platform or business model, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.

Information relating to individuals and their devices (sometimes called “personal information” or “personal data”) is regulated under a wide variety of local, state, national, and international laws and regulations that apply to the collection, use, retention, protection, disclosure, transfer (including transfer across national boundaries) and other processing of such data. We typically collect and store IP addresses and other device identifiers (such as unique cookie identifiers and mobile application identifiers), which are or may be considered personal data or personal information in some jurisdictions or otherwise may be the subject of regulation.

The global regulatory landscape regarding the protection of personal information is evolving, and U.S. (state and federal) and foreign governments are considering enacting additional legislation related to privacy and data protection and we expect to see an increase in, or changes to, legislation and regulation in this area. For example, in the U.S., a federal privacy law is the subject of active discussion and several bills have been introduced

Recently, the State of California adopted two laws broadly regulating businesses’ processing of personal information, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA, and the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA. The CCPA, which went into effect January 1, 2020, defines “personal information” broadly enough to include online identifiers provided by individuals’ devices, applications, and protocols (such as IP addresses, mobile application identifiers and unique cookie identifiers) and individuals’ location data, if there is potential that individuals can be identified by such data. The CCPA establishes a new privacy framework for covered businesses by, among other requirements, establishing new data privacy rights for consumers in the State of California (including rights to deletion of and access to personal information), imposing special rules on the collection of consumer data from minors, creating new notice obligations and new limits on the “sale” of personal information (interpreted by many observers to include common advertising technology practices), and creating a new and potentially severe statutory damages framework for violations of the CCPA and for businesses that fail to implement reasonable security procedures and practices to prevent data breaches. The CCPA also offers the possibility for a consumer to recover statutory damages for certain violations and could open the door more broadly to additional risks of individual and class-action lawsuits even though the statute’s private right of action is limited in scope.

Further, the CPRA recently passed, which imposes additional notice and opt out obligations on the digital advertising space, including an obligation to provide an opt-out for behavioral advertising. When the CPRA goes into full effect in January 2023, it will cause us to incur additional compliance costs and may impose additional restrictions on us and on our industry partners. Although we have attempted to mitigate certain risks posed by the CCPA and CPRA through contractual and platform changes, we cannot predict with certainty the effect of the CCPA and CPRA and their implementing regulations on our business. Responding to requirements under these laws and the related regulations will continue to affect our operations (and those of our industry partners).

Laws governing the processing of personal data in Europe (including the European Union and EEA, and the countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) also continue to impact us and continue to evolve. The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which applies to us, came into effect on May 25, 2018. Like the CCPA, the GDPR defines “personal data” broadly, and it enhances data protection obligations for controllers of such data and for service providers processing the data. It also provides certain rights, such as access and deletion, to the individuals about whom the personal data relates. The digital advertising industry has collaborated to create a user-facing framework for establishing and managing legal bases under the GDPR and other EU privacy laws including ePrivacy (discussed below). Although the framework is actively in use, we cannot predict its effectiveness over the long term. European regulators have questioned its viability and activists have filed complaints with regulators of alleged non-compliance by specific companies that employ the framework. Non-compliance with the GDPR can trigger steep fines of up to the greater of €20

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million or 4% of total worldwide annual revenue. Relatedly, following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EEA and the European Union, and the expiry of the transition period, we have to comply with both the GDPR and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 2018, the latter regime having the ability to separately fine up to the greater of £17.5 million or 4% of global turnover. Continuing to maintain compliance with the requirements of the GDPR and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 2018, including monitoring and adjusting to rulings and interpretations that affect our approach to compliance, requires significant time, resources and expense, as will the effort to monitor whether additional changes to our business practices and our backend configuration are needed, all of which may increase operating costs, or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.

Changes in data residency and cross-border transfer restrictions also impact our operations. For the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S., like many U.S. and European companies, we have relied upon, and are currently certified under the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks. The Privacy Shield Framework, however, was struck down in July 2020 by the EU Court of Justice as an adequate mechanism by which EU companies may pass personal data to the US, and other EU mechanisms for adequate data transfer, such as the standard contractual clauses, were questioned by the Court of Justice and whether and how standard contractual clauses can be used to transfer personal data to the U.S. is in question. If there is no interim agreement or guidance from the EU and standard clauses also cannot be used, we could be left with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data. If successful challenges leave us with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data, and if we nonetheless continue to transfer personal data from the EU to the US, that could lead to governmental enforcement actions, litigation, fines and penalties or adverse publicity, which could have an adverse effect on our reputation and business or cause us to need to establish systems to maintain certain data in the EU, which may involve substantial expense and cause us to divert resources from other aspects of our operations, all of which may adversely affect our business. Other jurisdictions have adopted or are considering cross-border or data residency restrictions, which could reduce the amount of data we can collect or process and, as a result, significantly impact our business. It remains unclear how the recent withdrawal of the United Kingdom, or U.K., from the European Union, referred to as Brexit, will affect transborder data flows, regulators’ jurisdiction over our business, and other matters related to how we do business and how we comply with applicable data protection laws. Accordingly, we cannot predict the additional expense, impact on revenue, or other business impact that may stem from Brexit.

Regulatory investigations and enforcement actions could also impact us. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, uses its enforcement powers under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (which prohibits “unfair” and “deceptive” trade practices) to investigate companies engaging in online tracking. Other companies in the advertising technology space have been subject to government investigation by regulatory bodies; advocacy organizations have also filed complaints with data protection authorities against advertising technology companies, arguing that certain of these companies’ practices do not comply with the GDPR. We cannot avoid the possibility that one of these investigations or enforcement actions will require us to alter our practices. Further, our legal risk depends in part on our clients’ or other third parties' adherence to privacy laws and regulations and their use of our services in ways consistent with end user expectations. We rely on representations made to us by clients that they will comply with all applicable laws, including all relevant privacy and data protection regulations. Although we make reasonable efforts to enforce such representations and contractual requirements, we do not fully audit our clients’ compliance with our recommended disclosures or their adherence to privacy laws and regulations. If our clients fail to adhere to our expectations or contracts in this regard, we and our clients could be subject to adverse publicity, damages, and related possible investigation or other regulatory activity.

Adapting our business to the CCPA, the CPRA and their implementing regulations and to the enhanced and evolving privacy obligations in the EU and elsewhere could continue to involve substantial expense and may cause us to divert resources from other aspects of our operations, all of which may adversely affect our business. Additionally, as the advertising industry evolves, and new ways of collecting, combining and using data are created, governments may enact legislation in response to technological advancements and changes that could result in our having to re-design features or functions of our platform, therefore incurring unexpected compliance costs. Further, adaptation of the digital advertising marketplace requires increasingly significant collaboration between participants in the market, such as publishers and advertisers. Failure of the industry to adapt to changes required for operating under laws including the CCPA, CPRA and the GDPR and user response to such changes could negatively impact inventory, data, and demand. We cannot control or predict the pace or effectiveness of such adaptation, and we cannot currently predict the impact such changes may have on our business.

In addition to laws regulating the processing of personal information, we are also subject to regulation with respect to political advertising activities, which are governed by various federal and state laws in the U.S., and national and provincial laws worldwide. Online political advertising laws are rapidly evolving, and in certain jurisdictions have varying transparency and disclosure requirements. We saw publishers impose varying prohibitions and restrictions on the types of political advertising and breadth of targeted advertising allowed on their platforms with respect to advertisements for the 2020 U.S. presidential election in response to political advertising scandals, such as the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The lack of uniformity and increasing requirements on transparency and disclosure could adversely impact the inventory made available for political advertising and the demand for such inventory on our platform, and otherwise increase our operating and compliance costs. Concerns about political advertising or other advertising in areas deemed sensitive, whether or not valid and whether or not driven by applicable laws and regulations, industry standards, client or inventory provider expectations, or public perception, may harm our reputation, result in loss of goodwill, and inhibit use of our platform by current and future clients.

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These laws and other obligations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our existing data management practices or the features of our platform. If so, in addition to the possibility of fines, lawsuits and other claims, we could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our products, which could have an adverse effect on our business. We may be unable to make such changes and modifications in a commercially reasonable manner or at all, and our ability to develop new products and features could be limited. All of this could impair our or our clients’ ability to collect, use, or disclose information relating to consumers, which could decrease demand for our platform, increase our costs, and impair our ability to maintain and grow our client base and increase our revenue.

Commitments to advertising technology industry self-regulation may subject us to investigation by government or self-regulatory bodies, government or private litigation, and operational costs or harm to reputation or brand.

In addition to our legal obligations, we have committed to comply, and generally require our clients and partners to comply, with applicable self-regulatory principles, such as the Network Advertising Initiative’s Code of Conduct and the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising in the U.S., and similar self-regulatory principles in Europe and Canada adopted by the local Digital Advertising Alliance. Trade associations and industry self-regulatory groups have also promulgated best practices and other industry standards relating to targeted advertising. Our efforts to comply with these self-regulatory principles include offering Internet users notice and choice when advertising is served to them based, in part, on their interests. If we or our clients or partners make mistakes in the implementation of these principles, or if self-regulatory bodies expand these guidelines or government authorities issue different guidelines regarding Internet-based advertising, or opt out mechanisms fail to work as designed, or if Internet users misunderstand our technology or our commitments with respect to these principles, we may, as a result, be subject to negative publicity, government investigation, government or private litigation, or investigation by self-regulatory bodies or other accountability groups. Any such action against us, or investigations, even if meritless, could be costly and time consuming, require us to change our business practices, cause us to divert management’s attention and our resources, and be damaging to our brand, reputation, and business. In addition, privacy advocates and industry groups may propose new and different self-regulatory standards that either legally or contractually apply to us. We cannot yet determine the impact such future standards may have on our business.

Third parties control our access to unique identifiers, and if the use of “third-party cookies” or other technology to uniquely identify devices is rejected by Internet users, restricted or otherwise subject to unfavorable regulation, blocked or limited by technical changes on end users’ devices and web browsers, or our and our clients’ ability to use data on our platform is otherwise restricted, our performance may decline and we may lose advertisers and revenue.

Our ability to successfully leverage user data and generate revenue from opportunities to serve advertisements could be impacted by restrictions imposed by third parties, including restrictions on our ability to use or read cookies, device identifiers, or other tracking features or our ability to use real-time bidding networks or other bidding networks. For example, if publishers or supply-side platforms decide to limit the data that we receive in order to comply (in their view) with the opt-out of sale provisions of the CCPA or a potential federal privacy law, then our service may prove to be less valuable to our clients and we may find it more difficult to generate revenue. That is, if third parties on which we rely for data or opportunities to serve advertisements impose limitations (for whatever reason) or are restricted by other ecosystem participants or applicable regulations, we may lose the ability to access data, bid on opportunities, or purchase digital ad space, which could have a substantial impact on our revenue.

Digital advertising mostly relies on the ability to uniquely identify devices across websites and applications, and to collect data about user interactions with those devices for purposes such as serving relevant ads and measuring the effectiveness of ads. Devices are identified through unique identifiers stored in cookies, provided by device operating systems for advertising purposes, or generated based on statistical algorithms applied to information about a device, such as the IP address and device type. We use device identifiers to record such information as when an Internet user views an ad, clicks on an ad, or visits one of our advertiser’s websites or applications. We use device identifiers to help us achieve our advertisers’ campaign goals, including to limit the instances that an Internet user sees the same advertisement, report information to our advertisers regarding the performance of their advertising campaigns, and detect and prevent malicious behavior and invalid traffic throughout our network of inventory. We also use data associated with device identifiers to help our clients decide whether to bid on, and how to price, an opportunity to place an advertisement in a specific location, at a given time, in front of a particular Internet user. Additionally, our clients rely on device identifiers to add information they have collected or acquired about users into our platform. Without such data, our clients may not have sufficient insight into an Internet user’s activity, which may compromise their and our ability to determine which inventory to purchase for a specific campaign and may undermine the effectiveness of our platform or our ability to improve our platform and remain competitive.

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Today, digital advertising, including our platform, makes significant use of cookies to store device identifiers for the advertising activities described above. When we use cookies, they are generally considered third-party cookies, which are cookies owned and used by parties other than the owners of the website visited by the Internet user. The most commonly used Internet browsers—Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari—allow Internet users to modify their browser settings to prevent some or all cookies from being accepted by their browsers. Internet users can delete cookies from their computers at any time. Additionally, some browsers currently, or may in the future, block or limit some third-party cookies by default or may implement user control settings that algorithmically block or limit some cookies. Today, three major web browsers-Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Microsoft’s Edge-block third-party cookies by default. Google’s Chrome has introduced new controls over third-party cookies and announced plans to deprecate support for third-party cookies and user agent strings entirely by January 2022. Some Internet users also download free or paid ad blocking software that not only prevents third-party cookies from being stored on a user’s computer, but also blocks all interaction with a third-party ad server. In addition, Google has introduced ad blocking software in its Chrome web browser that will block certain ads based on quality standards established under a multi-stakeholder coalition. If such a feature inadvertently or mistakenly blocks ads that are not within the established blocking standards, or if such capabilities become widely adopted and the advertising technology industry does not collaboratively develop alternative technologies, our business could be harmed. The IAB and DAA have also developed frameworks that allow users to opt out of the “sale” of their personal information under the CCPA in ways that stop or severely limit the ability to show targeted ads.

Advertising shown on mobile applications can also be affected by blocking or restricting use of mobile device identifiers. Data regarding interactions between users and devices are tracked mostly through stable, pseudonymous advertising identifiers that are built into the device operating system with privacy controls that allow users to express a preference with respect to data collection for advertising, including to disable the identifier. These identifiers and privacy controls are defined by the developers of the platforms through which the applications are accessed and could be changed by the platforms in a way that may negatively impact our business. For example, Apple announced last year that it will require user opt-in before permitting access to Apple’s unique identifier, or IDFA. Apple initially targeted fall 2020 for implementing these changes but has pushed that date out until at least early 2021. This shift from enabling user opt-out to an opt-in requirement is likely to have a substantial impact on the mobile advertising ecosystem and could impact our growth in this channel.

In addition, in the EU, Directive 2002/58/EC (as amended by Directive 2009/136/EC), commonly referred to as the ePrivacy or Cookie Directive, directs EU member states to ensure that accessing information on an Internet user’s computer, such as through a cookie and other similar technologies, is allowed only if the Internet user has been informed about such access and given his or her consent. A recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union clarified that such consent must be reflected by an affirmative act of the user, and European regulators are increasingly agitating for more robust forms of consent. These developments may result in decreased reliance on implied consent mechanisms that have been used to meet requirements of the Cookie Directive in some markets. A replacement for the Cookie Directive is currently under discussion by EU member states to complement and bring electronic communication services in line with the GDPR and force a harmonized approach across EU member states. Like the GDPR, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation has extra-territorial application as it applies to businesses established outside the EU who provide publicly available electronic communications services to, or gather data from the devices of, users in the EU. Though still subject to debate, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation may further raise the bar for the use of cookies and the fines and penalties for breach may be significant. We may be required to, or otherwise may determine that it is advisable to, make significant changes in our business operations and product and services to obtain user opt-in for cookies and use of cookie data, or develop or obtain additional tools and technologies to compensate for a lack of cookie data.

As the collection and use of data for digital advertising has received media attention over the past several years, some government regulators, such as the FTC, and privacy advocates have suggested creating a “Do Not Track” standard that would allow Internet users to express a preference, independent of cookie settings in their browser, not to have their online browsing activities tracked. “Do Not Track” has seen renewed emphasis from proponents of the CCPA, and the final regulations browser-based or similar “do not sell” signals. California’s CPRA, similarly contemplates the use of technical opt outs for the sale and sharing of personal information for advertising purposes as well as to opt out of the use of sensitive information for advertising purposes and allows for AG rulemaking to develop these technical signals. If a “Do Not Track,” “Do Not Sell,” or similar control is adopted by many Internet users or if a “Do Not Track” standard is imposed by state, federal, or foreign legislation (as it arguably is to some degree under the CCPA regulations), or is agreed upon by standard setting groups, we may have to change our business practices, our clients may reduce their use of our platform, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Increased transparency into the collection and use of data for digital advertising, introduced both through features in browsers and devices and regulatory requirements, such as the GDPR, the CCPA, “Do Not Track”, and ePrivacy, as well as compliance with such requirements, may create operational burdens to implement and may lead more users to choose to block the collection and use of data about them. Adapting to these and similar changes has in the past and may in the future require significant time, resources and expense, which may increase our cost of operation or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.

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Concerns regarding data privacy and security relating to our industry’s technology and practices, and perceived failure to comply with laws and industry self-regulation, could damage our reputation and deter current and potential clients from using our products and services.

Public perception regarding data protection and privacy are significant in the programmatic advertising buying industry. Concerns about industry practices with regard to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, whether or not valid and whether driven by applicable laws and regulations, industry standards, client or inventory provider expectations, or the broader public, may harm our reputation, result in loss of goodwill, and inhibit use of our platform by current and future clients. For example, perception that our practices involve an invasion of privacy, whether or not such practices are consistent with current or future laws, regulations, or industry practices, may subject us to public criticism, private class actions, reputational harm, or claims by regulators, which could disrupt our business and expose us to increased liability.

Our failure to meet standards and provide services that our advertisers and inventory suppliers trust, could harm our brand and reputation and those of our partners and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We do not provide or control the content of the advertisements that we serve or the content of the websites providing the inventory. Advertisers provide the advertising content and inventory suppliers provide the inventory. Both advertisers and inventory suppliers are concerned about being associated with content they consider inappropriate, competitive or inconsistent with their brands, or illegal, and they are hesitant to spend money or make inventory available, respectively, without some guarantee of brand security. Consequently, our reputation depends in part on providing services that our advertisers and inventory suppliers trust, and we have contractual obligations to meet content and inventory standards. We contractually prohibit the misuse of our platform by our clients and inventory suppliers. Additionally, we use our proprietary technology and third-party services to, and we participate in industry co-ops that work to, detect malware and other content issues as well as click fraud (whether by humans or software known as “bots”) and to block fraudulent inventory, including “tool bar” inventory, which is inventory that appears within an application and displaces any advertising that would otherwise be displayed on the website. Despite such efforts, our clients may inadvertently purchase inventory that proves to be unacceptable for their campaigns, in which case we may not be able to recoup the amounts paid to inventory suppliers. Preventing and combating fraud is an industry-wide issue that requires constant vigilance, and we cannot guarantee that we will be successful in our efforts. Our clients could intentionally run campaigns that do not meet the standards of our inventory suppliers or attempt to use illegal or unethical targeting practices or seek to display advertising in jurisdictions that do not permit such advertising or in which the regulatory environment is uncertain, in which case our supply of ad inventory from such suppliers could be jeopardized. Some of our competitors undertake human review of content, but because our platform is self-service, and because such means are cost-intensive, we do not utilize all means available to decrease these risks. We may provide access to inventory that is objectionable to our advertisers, serve advertising that contains malware, objectionable content, or is based on questionable targeting criteria to our inventory suppliers, or be unable to detect and prevent non-human traffic, any one of which could harm our or our clients’ brand and reputation, decrease their trust in our platform, and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we fail to offer sufficient client training and support, our business and reputation would suffer.

Because we offer a self-service platform, client training and support is important for the successful marketing and continued use of our platform and for maintaining and increasing spend through our platform from existing and new clients. Providing this training and support requires that our platform operations personnel have specific domain knowledge and expertise along with the ability to train others, which makes it more difficult for us to hire qualified personnel and to scale up our support operations due to the extensive training required. The importance of high-quality client service will increase as we expand our business and pursue new clients. If we are not responsive and proactive regarding our clients’ advertising needs, or do not provide effective support for our clients’ advertising campaigns, our ability to retain our existing clients would suffer and our reputation with existing or potential clients would be harmed, which would negatively impact our business.

If the non-proprietary technology, software, products and services that we use are unavailable, have future terms we cannot agree to, or do not perform as we expect, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.

We depend on various technology, software, products and services from third parties or available as open source, including data centers and API technology, payment processing, payroll and other technology and professional services, some of which are critical to the features and functionality of our platform. For example, in order for clients to target ads in ways they desire and otherwise optimize and verify campaigns, our platform must have access to data regarding Internet user behavior and reports with demographic information regarding Internet users. Identifying, negotiating, complying with and integrating with third-party terms and technology are complex, costly and time-consuming matters. Failure by third-party providers to maintain, support or secure their technology either generally or for our accounts specifically, or downtime, errors or defects in their products or services, could adversely impact our platform, our administrative obligations or other areas of our business. Having to replace any third-party providers or their technology, products or services could result in outages or difficulties in our ability to provide our services. If we are unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining our relationships with our third-party providers or otherwise need to replace them, internal resources may need to be diverted and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.

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Disruptions to service from our third-party data center hosting facilities and cloud computing and hosting providers could impair the delivery of our services and harm our business.

A significant portion of our business relies upon hardware and services that are hosted, managed and controlled by third-party co-location providers for our data centers, and we are dependent on these third parties to provide continuous power, cooling, Internet connectivity and physical and technological security for our servers. In the event that these third-party providers experience any interruption in operations or cease business for any reason, or if we are unable to agree on satisfactory terms for continued hosting relationships, we would be forced to enter into a relationship with other service providers or assume some hosting responsibilities ourselves. Even a disruption as brief as a few minutes could have a negative impact on marketplace activities and could result in a loss of revenue. These facilities may be located in areas prone to natural disasters and may experience catastrophic events such as earthquakes, fires, floods, power loss, telecommunications failures, public health crises and similar events. They may also be subject to break-ins, sabotage, intentional acts of vandalism, cyber-attacks and similar misconduct. Although we have made certain disaster recovery and business continuity arrangements, such events could cause damage to, or failure of, our systems generally, or those of the third-party cloud computing and hosting providers, which could result in disruptions to our service.

We face potential liability and harm to our business based on the human factor of inputting information into our platform.

Campaigns are set up using several variables available to our clients on our platform. While our platform includes several checks and balances, it is possible for human error to result in significant overspending. The system requires a daily cap at the ad group level. We also provide for the client to input daily and overall caps at the advertising inventory campaign level at their discretion. Additionally, we set a credit limit for each user so that they cannot spend beyond the level of credit risk we are willing to accept. Despite these protections, the ability for overspend exists. For example, campaigns which last for a period of time can be set to pace evenly or as quickly as possible. If a client with a high credit limit enters the wrong daily cap with a campaign set to a rapid pace, it is possible for a campaign to accidently go significantly over budget. While our client contracts state that clients are responsible for media purchased through our platform, we are ultimately responsible for paying the inventory providers, and we may be unable to collect from clients facing such issues, in which case our results of operations would be harmed.

We have international operations and plan to continue expanding abroad where we have more limited operating experience, which may subject us to additional cost and economic risks that can adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our international operations and expansion plans create challenges associated with supporting a rapidly growing business across a multitude of cultures, customs, monetary, legal and regulatory systems and commercial infrastructures. We have a limited operating history outside of the U.S., and our ability to manage and expand our business and conduct our operations internationally requires considerable attention and resources.

We have personnel in countries within North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and we are continuing to expand our international operations. Some of the countries into which we are, or potentially may, expand score unfavorably on the Corruption Perceptions Index, or CPI, of the Transparency International. Our teams in locations outside the U.S. are substantially smaller than some of our teams in the U.S. To the extent we are unable to effectively engage with non-U.S. advertising agencies or international divisions of U.S. agencies due to our limited sales force capacity, or we are unable to secure quality non-U.S. ad inventory and data on reasonable terms due to our limited inventory and data team capacity, we may be unable to effectively grow in international markets.

Our international operations and expansion subject us to a variety of additional risks, including:

 

risks related to local advertising markets, where adoption of programmatic ad buying may be slower than in the U.S., advertising buyers and inventory and data providers may be less familiar with demand-side platforms and our brand, and business models may not support our value proposition;

 

exposure to public health issues, and to travel restrictions and other measures undertaken by governments in response to such issues;

 

risks related to compliance with local laws and regulations, including those relating to privacy, cybersecurity, data security, antitrust, data localization, anti-bribery, import and export controls, economic sanctions (including to existing and potential partners and clients), tax and withholding (including overlapping of different tax regimes), varied labor and employment laws (including those relating to termination of employees); corporate formation, partnership, restrictions on foreign ownership or investment, and other regulatory limitations or obligations on our operations (such as obtaining requisite licenses or other governmental requirements); and the increased administrative costs and risks associated with such compliance;

 

operational and execution risk, and other challenges caused by distance, language and cultural differences, which may burden management, increase travel, infrastructure and legal compliance costs, and add complexity to our enforcement of advertising standards across languages and countries;

 

geopolitical and social factors, such as concerns regarding negative, unstable or changing economic conditions in the countries and regions where we operate, global and regional recessions, political instability, and trade disputes;

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risks related to pricing structure, payment and currency, including aligning our pricing model and payment terms with local norms, higher levels of credit risk and payment fraud, difficulties in invoicing and collecting in foreign currencies and associated foreign currency exposure, and difficulties in repatriating or transferring funds from or converting currencies; and

 

reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries and practical difficulties in enforcing contractual and intellectual property rights abroad.

We have a U.K. entity through which we have entered into international client and partner agreements, including with those in the EU, which are governed by English Law, and some of our clients and partners pay us in British Pounds and Euros. It is unclear what effects Brexit will have on the operational execution and enforcement of those agreements, transborder transactions generally, matters of taxation, transborder data flows, regulators’ jurisdiction over our business, and other matters related to how we do business in the U.K. and EU. Brexit may adversely affect economic conditions in the U.K., EU and elsewhere across the globe, and could contribute to volatility in foreign exchange markets with respect to the British Pound and Euro, which we may not be able to effectively manage, and our financial results could be adversely affected. Further, Brexit may add additional complexity to our European operations, which are headquartered in the U.K. Accordingly, we cannot predict the additional expense, impact on revenue, or other business impact that may stem from Brexit.

We may incur significant operating expenses as a result of our international operations and expansion, and we may not be successful. Our international business also subjects us to the impact of differing regulatory requirements, costs and difficulties in managing a distributed workforce, and potentially adverse tax consequences in the U.S. and abroad. If our international activities were found to be in violation of any existing or future international laws or regulations or if interpretations of those laws and regulations were to change, our business in those countries could be subject to fines and other financial penalties, have licenses revoked, or be forced to restructure operations or shut down entirely. In addition, advertising markets outside of the U.S. are not as developed as those within the U.S., and we may be unable to grow our business sufficiently. Any failure to successfully manage the risks and challenges related to our international operations could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We have entered into, and may in the future enter into, credit facilities which may contain operating and financial covenants that restrict our business and financing activities.

We have entered into, and may in the future enter into, credit facilities which contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business. Our credit facility contains, and any future credit facility may contain, various covenants that limit our ability to engage in specified types of transactions. Subject to limited exceptions, these covenants limit our ability to, among other things:

 

sell assets or make changes to the nature of our business;

 

engage in mergers or acquisitions;

 

incur, assume or permit additional indebtedness and guarantees;

 

make restricted payments, including paying dividends on, repurchasing, redeeming or making distributions with respect to our capital stock;

 

make specified investments;

 

engage in transactions with our affiliates; and

 

make payments in respect of subordinated debt.

Our obligations under our credit facility are collateralized by a pledge of substantially all of our assets, including accounts receivable, deposit accounts, intellectual property, and investment property and equipment. The covenants in our credit facility may limit our ability to take actions and, in the event that we breach one or more covenants, our lenders may choose to declare an event of default and require that we immediately repay all amounts outstanding, terminate the commitment to extend further credit and foreclose on the collateral granted to them to collateralize such indebtedness, which includes our intellectual property. In addition, if we fail to meet the required covenants, we will not have access to further draw-downs under our credit facility.

Our future success depends on the continuing efforts of our key employees, including Jeff T. Green and David R. Pickles, and our ability to attract, hire, retain and motivate highly skilled employees in the future.

Our future success depends on the continuing efforts of our executive officers and other key employees, including our two founders, Jeff T. Green, our Chief Executive Officer, and David R. Pickles, our Chief Technology Officer. We rely on the leadership, knowledge, and experience that our executive officers provide. They foster our corporate culture, which has been instrumental to our ability to attract and retain new talent. We also rely on our ability to hire and retain qualified and motivated employees, particularly those employees in our product development, support, and sales teams that attract and keep key clients.

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The market for talent in many of our areas of operations, including California and New York, is intensely competitive, as technology companies like ours compete to attract the best talent. As a business-to-business company, we do not have the same level of name recognition among potential recruits as business-to-consumer companies. Additionally, we have less experience with recruiting and less name recognition in geographies outside of the U.S. and may face additional challenges in attracting and retaining international employees. As a result, we may incur significant costs to attract and retain employees, including significant expenditures related to salaries and benefits and compensation expenses related to equity awards, and we may lose new employees to our competitors or other companies before we realize the benefit of our investment in recruiting and training them. New employees often require significant training and, in many cases, take significant time before they achieve full productivity. Our account managers, for instance, need to be trained quickly on the features of our platform since failure to offer high-quality support may adversely affect our relationships with our clients.

Employee turnover, including changes in our management team, could disrupt our business. None of our founders or other key employees have an employment agreement for a specific term, and all of our employees may terminate his or her employment with us at any time. The loss of one or more of our executive officers, especially our two founders, or our inability to attract and retain highly skilled employees could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we do not effectively grow and train our sales and client service teams, we may be unable to add new clients or increase sales to our existing clients and our business will be adversely affected.

We are substantially dependent on our sales and client service teams to obtain new clients and to increase spend by our existing clients. We believe that there is significant competition for sales personnel with the skills and technical knowledge that we require. Our ability to achieve revenue growth will depend, in large part, on our success in recruiting, training, integrating and retaining sufficient numbers of sales personnel to support our growth. Due to the complexity of our platform, new hires require significant training and it may take significant time before they achieve full productivity. Our recent and planned hires may not become productive as quickly as we expect, and we may be unable to hire or retain sufficient numbers of qualified individuals in the markets where we do business or plan to do business. If we are unable to hire and train sufficient numbers of effective sales personnel, or the sales personnel are not successful in obtaining new clients or increasing our existing clients’ spend with us, our business will be adversely affected.

Our corporate culture has contributed to our success and, if we are unable to maintain it as we grow, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be harmed.

We have experienced and may continue to experience rapid expansion of our employee ranks. We believe our corporate culture has been a key element of our success. However, as our organization grows, it may be difficult to maintain our culture, which could reduce our ability to innovate and operate effectively. The failure to maintain the key aspects of our culture as our organization grows could result in decreased employee satisfaction, increased difficulty in attracting top talent, increased turnover and could compromise the quality of our client service, all of which are important to our success and to the effective execution of our business strategy. In the event we are unable to maintain our corporate culture as we grow to scale, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.

Our proprietary rights may be difficult to enforce, which could enable others to copy or use aspects of our technology without compensating us, thereby eroding our competitive advantages and harming our business.

We rely upon a combination of trade secrets, third-party confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, additional contractual restrictions on disclosure and use, and trademark, copyright, patent and other intellectual property laws to establish and protect our proprietary rights. These laws, procedures and restrictions provide only limited protection. We currently have “theTradeDesk” and variants and other marks registered as trademarks or pending registrations in the U.S. and certain foreign countries. We also rely on copyright laws to protect computer programs related to our platform and our proprietary technologies, although to date we have not registered for statutory copyright protection. We have registered numerous Internet domain names in the U.S. and certain foreign countries related to our business. We endeavor to enter into agreements with our employees and contractors in order to limit access to and disclosure of our proprietary information, as well as to clarify rights to intellectual property associated with our business. Protecting our intellectual property is a challenge, especially after our employees or our contractors end their relationship with us, and, in some cases, decide to work for our competitors. Our contracts with our employees and contractors that relate to intellectual property issues generally restrict the use of our confidential information solely in connection with our services, and strictly prohibit reverse engineering. However, reverse engineering our software or the theft or misuse of our proprietary information could occur by employees or other third parties who have access to our technology. Enforceability of the non-compete agreements that we have in place is not guaranteed, and contractual restrictions could be breached without discovery or adequate remedies. Historically, we have prioritized keeping our technology architecture, trade secrets, and engineering roadmap private, and as a general matter, have not patented our proprietary technology. As a result, we cannot look to patent enforcement rights to protect much of our proprietary technology. Furthermore, our patent strategy is still in its early stages. We may not be able to obtain any further patents, and our pending applications may not result in the issuance of patents. Any issued patents may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, and any rights granted under these patents may not actually provide adequate defensive protection or competitive advantages to us. Additionally, the process of obtaining patent protection is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner.

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Policing unauthorized use of our technology is difficult. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries may not be as protective of intellectual property rights as those of the U.S., and mechanisms for enforcement of our proprietary rights in such countries may be inadequate. If we are unable to protect our proprietary rights (including in particular, the proprietary aspects of our platform) we may find ourselves at a competitive disadvantage to others who have not incurred the same level of expense, time and effort to create and protect their intellectual property.

We may be sued by third parties for alleged infringement of their proprietary rights, which would result in additional expense and potential damages.

There is significant patent and other intellectual property development activity in the digital advertising industry. Third-party intellectual property rights may cover significant aspects of our technologies or business methods or block us from expanding our offerings. Our success depends on the continual development of our platform. From time to time, we may receive claims from third parties that our platform and underlying technology infringe or violate such third parties’ intellectual property rights. To the extent we gain greater public recognition, we may face a higher risk of being the subject of intellectual property claims. The cost of defending against such claims, whether or not the claims have merit, is significant, regardless of whether we are successful in our defense, and could divert the attention of management, technical personnel and other employees from our business operations. Litigation regarding intellectual property rights is inherently uncertain due to the complex issues involved, and we may not be successful in defending ourselves in such matters. Additionally, we have obligations to indemnify our clients or inventory and data suppliers in connection with certain intellectual property claims. If we are found to infringe these rights, we could potentially be required to cease utilizing portions of our platform. We may also be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology, which could require significant time and expense. Additionally, we could be required to pay royalty payments, either as a one-time fee or ongoing, as well as damages for past use that was deemed to be infringing. If we cannot license or develop technology for any allegedly infringing aspect of our business, we would be forced to limit our service and may be unable to compete effectively. Any of these results could harm our business.

We face potential liability and harm to our business based on the nature of our business and the content on our platform.

Advertising often results in litigation relating to misleading or deceptive claims, copyright or trademark infringement, public performance royalties or other claims based on the nature and content of advertising that is distributed through our platform. Though we contractually require clients to generally represent to us that their advertisements comply with our ad standards and our inventory providers’ ad standards and that they have the rights necessary to serve advertisements through our platform, we do not independently verify whether we are permitted to deliver, or review the content of, such advertisements. If any of these representations are untrue, we may be exposed to potential liability and our reputation may be damaged. While our clients are typically obligated to indemnify us, such indemnification may not fully cover us, or we may not be able to collect. In addition to settlement costs, we may be responsible for our own litigation costs, which can be expensive.

We are subject to anti-bribery, anti-corruption and similar laws and non-compliance with such laws can subject us to criminal penalties or significant fines and harm our business and reputation.

We are subject to anti-bribery and similar laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the USA PATRIOT Act, U.S. Travel Act, the U.K. Bribery Act 2010 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and possibly other anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws in countries in which we conduct business. Anti-corruption laws have been enforced with great rigor in recent years and are interpreted broadly. Such laws prohibit companies and their employees and their agents from making or offering improper payments or other benefits to government officials and others in the private sector. As we increase our international sales and business, particularly in countries with a low score on the CPI by Transparency International, and increase our use of third parties such as sales agents, distributors, resellers or consultants, our risks under these laws will increase. We adopt appropriate policies and procedures and conduct training, but cannot guarantee that improprieties will not occur. Noncompliance with these laws could subject us to investigations, sanctions, settlements, prosecution, other enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, significant fines, damages, other civil and criminal penalties or injunctions, suspension and/or debarment from contracting with specified persons, the loss of export privileges, reputational harm, adverse media coverage, and other collateral consequences. Any investigations, actions and/or sanctions could have a material negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to governmental economic sanctions requirements and export and import controls that could impair our ability to compete in international markets or subject us to liability if we are not in compliance with applicable laws.

As a U.S. company, we are subject to U.S. export control and economic sanctions laws and regulations, and we are required to export our technology and services in compliance with those laws and regulations, including the U.S. Export Administration Regulations and economic embargo and trade sanctions programs administered by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. U.S. economic sanctions and export control laws and regulations prohibit the shipment of specified products and services to countries, governments and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions. While we take precautions to prevent doing any business, directly or indirectly, with countries, governments and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions and to ensure that our technology and services are not exported or used by countries, governments and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions, such measures may be

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circumvented. There can be no assurance that we will be in compliance with U.S. export control or economic sanctions laws and regulations in the future. Any such violation could result in significant criminal or civil fines, penalties or other sanctions and repercussions, including reputational harm that could materially adversely impact our business.

Furthermore, if we export our technology, the exports may require authorizations, including a license, a license exception or other appropriate government authorization. Complying with export control and sanctions regulations may be time-consuming and may result in the delay or loss of opportunities.

In addition, various countries regulate the import of encryption technology, including the imposition of import permitting and licensing requirements, and have enacted laws that could limit our ability to offer our platform or could limit our clients’ ability to use our platform in those countries. Changes in our platform or future changes in export and import regulations may create delays in the introduction of our platform in international markets or prevent our clients with international operations from deploying our platform globally. Any change in export or import regulations, economic sanctions or related legislation, or change in the countries, governments, persons, or technologies targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our platform by, or in our decreased ability to export our technology and services to, existing or potential clients with international operations. Any decreased use of our platform or limitation on our ability to export our platform would likely adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock

The market price of our Class A common stock may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance, and you may not be able to resell your shares at or above your purchase price.

The market price of our stock and of equity securities of technology companies has historically experienced high levels of volatility. If you purchase shares of our Class A common stock, you may not be able to resell those shares at or above your purchase price. The market price of our Class A common stock has fluctuated and may fluctuate significantly in response to numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance, including:

 

announcements of new offerings, products, services or technologies, commercial relationships, acquisitions, or other events by us or our competitors;

 

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;

 

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of technology companies in general and of companies in the digital advertising industry in particular;

 

fluctuations in the trading volume of our shares or the size of our public float;

 

actual or anticipated changes or fluctuations in our results of operations;

 

whether our results of operations meet the expectations of securities analysts or investors;

 

actual or anticipated changes in the expectations of investors or securities analysts;

 

litigation involving us, our industry, or both;

 

regulatory developments in the U.S., foreign countries, or both;

 

general economic conditions and trends;

 

terrorist attacks, political upheaval, natural disasters, public health crises, or other major catastrophic events;

 

sales of large blocks of our common stock;

 

departures of key employees; or

 

an adverse impact on us from any of the other risks cited herein.

In addition, if the stock market for technology companies, or the stock market generally, experiences a loss of investor confidence, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline for reasons unrelated to our business, financial condition, or results of operations. Stock prices of many technology companies have fluctuated in a manner unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. The trading price of our Class A common stock might also decline in reaction to events that affect other companies in our industry even if these events do not directly affect us. In the past, stockholders have filed securities class action litigation following periods of market volatility. If we were to become involved in securities litigation, it could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and the attention of management from our core business, and adversely affect our business.

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Substantial future sales of shares of our common stock could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline.

The market price of our Class A common stock could decline as a result of substantial sales of our common stock, particularly sales by our directors, executive officers, and significant stockholders or the perception in the market that holders of a large number of shares intend to sell their shares.

Additionally, our directors, executive officers, employees and, in certain instances, service providers, hold shares of common stock subject to outstanding options, restricted stock awards and restricted stock units under our equity incentive plans. Those shares and the shares reserved for future issuance under our equity incentive plans are and will become eligible for sale in the public market, subject to certain legal and contractual limitations.

Certain holders of our common stock have rights, subject to some conditions, to require us to file registration statements covering their shares or to include their shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or our stockholders.

Insiders have substantial control over our company, including as a result of the dual class structure of our common stock, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of key decisions, including a change of control.

Our Class B common stock has ten votes per share, and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B and Class A common stock, the holders of our Class B common stock collectively continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock and therefore are able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval so long as the shares of Class B common stock represent at least 9.1% of all outstanding shares of our Class A and Class B common stock in the aggregate. Our certificate of incorporation provides that all Class B common stock will convert automatically into Class A common stock on December 22, 2025 unless converted prior to such date.  As of December 31, 2020, stockholders who hold shares of Class B common stock, including our executive officers, employees, and directors and their affiliates, together hold approximately 54% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. This concentrated control limits or precludes your ability to influence corporate matters, as the holders of Class B common stock are able to influence or control matters requiring approval by our stockholders, including the election of the directors, excluding the director we plan to designate as a Class A director, and the approval of mergers, acquisitions or other extraordinary transactions. Their interests may differ from yours and they may vote in a manner that is adverse to your interests. This ownership concentration may deter, delay or prevent a change of control of our company, deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company and may ultimately affect the market price of our common stock. Furthermore, in connection with the amendments and related matters voted on at the Special Meeting of Stockholders held on December 22, 2020, or the Special Meeting, we may experience legal proceedings, including securities class action claims and/or derivative litigation. Any legal proceedings related to items voted upon at the Special Meeting may divert management’s time and attention and may result in the incurrence of significant expense, including legal fees.

Transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions, such as transfers effected for estate planning or charitable purposes. However, until the conversion of all outstanding shares of Class B common stock, the conversion of Class B common stock to Class A common stock will have the effect, over time, of increasing the voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares in the long term.

Our charter documents and Delaware law could discourage takeover attempts and other corporate governance changes.

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that could delay or prevent a change in control of our company. These provisions could also make it difficult for stockholders to elect directors that are not nominated by the current members of our board of directors or take other corporate actions, including effecting changes in our management. These provisions include the following provisions:

 

permit the board of directors to establish the number of directors and fill any vacancies and newly created directorships;

 

provide that our board of directors will be classified into three classes with staggered, three-year terms and that directors may only be removed for cause;

 

require super-majority voting to amend certain provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws;

 

authorize the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock that our board of directors could use to implement a stockholder rights plan;

 

specify that special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors, the chairman of our board of directors, our chief executive officer, or a stockholder that has held at least 20% of our outstanding shares of common stock continuously for one year;

 

prohibit stockholder action by written consent until the outstanding shares of Class B common stock represent less than 50% of our outstanding voting power, which until such time requires all stockholder actions to be taken at a meeting of our stockholders;

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provide that the board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter or repeal our bylaws;

 

provide that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum;

 

prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors;

 

restrict the forum for certain litigation against us to Delaware;

 

permit our board of directors to alter our bylaws without obtaining stockholder approval;

 

reflect the dual class structure of our common stock, as discussed above; and

 

establish advance notice requirements for nominations for election to our board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at annual stockholder meetings.

In addition, as a Delaware corporation, we are subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. These provisions may prohibit large stockholders, in particular those owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock, from merging or combining with us for a period of time.

Our certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which limits our stockholders’ ability to choose other forums for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.

Our certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for: (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty by any of our directors, officers, employees, or our stockholders owed to us or our stockholders; (3) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws, or as to which the Delaware General Corporation Law confers jurisdiction on the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware; or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in other judicial forums for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees in jurisdictions other than Delaware. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could have a material adverse effect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

General Risk Factors

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting in the future, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations. If our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, it may adversely affect investor confidence in us and the price of our common stock.

As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal control. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and provide a management report on internal control over financial reporting.

Our platform system applications are complex, multi-faceted and include applications that are highly customized in order to serve and support our clients, advertising inventory and data suppliers, as well as support our financial reporting obligations. We regularly make improvements to our platform to maintain and enhance our competitive position. In the future, we may implement new offerings and engage in business transactions, such as acquisitions, reorganizations or implementation of new information systems. These factors require us to develop and maintain our internal controls, processes and reporting systems, and we expect to incur ongoing costs in this effort. We may not be successful in developing and maintaining effective internal controls, and any failure to develop or maintain effective controls, or any difficulties encountered in their implementation or improvement, could harm our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods.

If we identify material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective. If we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, or if we are unable to comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner, then, we may be late with the filing of our periodic reports, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected. Such failures could also subject us to investigations by Nasdaq, the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, and to litigation from stockholders, which could harm our reputation, financial condition or divert financial and management resources from our core business.

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The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert our management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified board members.

As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, and are required to comply with the applicable requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the listing requirements of NASDAQ, and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Compliance with these rules and regulations increases our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly and increase demand on our systems and resources. Among other things, the Exchange Act requires that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and results of operations and maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting. Significant resources and management oversight are required to maintain and, if required, improve our disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting to meet this standard. As a result, management’s attention may be diverted from other business concerns, which could harm our business and results of operations.

Exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations could negatively impact our results of operations.

While the majority of the transactions through our platform are denominated in U.S. dollars, we have transacted in foreign currencies, both for inventory and for payments by clients from use of our platform. We also have expenses denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. Given our anticipated international growth, we expect the number of transactions in a variety of foreign currencies to continue to grow in the future. While we generally require a fee from our clients that pay in non-U.S. currency, this fee may not always cover foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Although we currently have a program to hedge exposure to foreign currency fluctuations, the use of hedging instruments may not be available for all currencies or may not always offset losses resulting from foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Moreover, the use of hedging instruments can itself result in losses if we are unable to structure effective hedges with such instruments.

Future acquisitions, strategic investments or alliances could disrupt our business and harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We explore, on an ongoing basis, potential acquisitions of companies or technologies, strategic investments, or alliances to strengthen our business, however, we have limited experience in acquiring and integrating businesses, products and technologies. Even if we identify an appropriate acquisition candidate, we may not be successful in negotiating the terms or financing of the acquisition, and our due diligence may fail to identify all of the problems, liabilities or other shortcomings or challenges of an acquired business, product or technology, including issues related to intellectual property, product quality or architecture, regulatory compliance practices, revenue recognition or other accounting practices or employee or client issues. Acquisitions involve numerous risks, any of which could harm our business, including:

 

regulatory hurdles;

 

anticipated benefits may not materialize;

 

diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;

 

retention of employees from the acquired company;

 

cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;

 

integration of the acquired company’s products and technology;

 

integration of the acquired company’s accounting, management information, human resources and other administrative systems;

 

the need to implement or improve controls, procedures and policies at a business that, prior to the acquisition, may have lacked effective controls, procedures and policies;

 

coordination of product development and sales and marketing functions;

 

liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including relating to privacy and data security, patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities; and

 

litigation or other claims in connection with the acquisition, including claims from terminated employees, users, former stockholders or other third parties.

Failure to appropriately mitigate these risks or other issues related to such acquisitions and strategic investments could result in reducing or completely eliminating any anticipated benefits of transactions, and harm our business generally. Future acquisitions could also result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities, the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, amortization expenses or the impairment of goodwill, any of which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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We may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs, which may in turn impair our growth.

We intend to continue to grow our business, which will require additional capital to develop new features or enhance our platform, improve our operating infrastructure, finance working capital requirements, or acquire complementary businesses and technologies. We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us under our existing credit facility in an amount sufficient to fund our working capital needs. Accordingly, we may need to engage in additional equity or debt financings to secure additional capital. We cannot assure you that we would be able to locate additional financing on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Any debt financing that we secure in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities. If our cash flows and credit facility borrowings are insufficient to fund our working capital requirements, we may not be able to grow at the rate we currently expect or at all. In addition, in the absence of sufficient cash flows from operations, we might be unable to meet our obligations under our credit facility, and we may therefore be at risk of default thereunder. If we raise additional funds through future issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of our common stock. If we are unable to secure additional funding on favorable terms, or at all, when we require it, our ability to continue to grow our business to react to market conditions could be impaired and our business may be harmed.

 

The phase out of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), or the replacement of LIBOR with a different reference rate, may adversely affect interest rates.

 

Our revolving credit facility has interest rates tied to LIBOR.  On November 30, 2020, the ICE Benchmark Administration (the Financial Conduct Authority-regulated and authorized administrator of LIBOR) announced that it would cease the publication of the one week and two-month USD LIBOR settings at the end of 2021 and phase out the remaining USD LIBOR settings by the end of 2023. Although many of our LIBOR-based obligations provide for alternative methods of calculating the interest rate payable if LIBOR is not reported, the extent and manner of any future changes with respect to methods of calculating LIBOR or replacing LIBOR with another benchmark are unknown and impossible to predict at this time and, as such, may result in interest rates that are materially higher than current interest rates. This could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, cash flows and liquidity.

Our tax liabilities may be greater than anticipated.

The U.S. and non-U.S. tax laws applicable to our business activities are subject to interpretation and are changing. We are subject to audit by the Internal Revenue Service and by taxing authorities of the state, local and foreign jurisdictions in which we operate. Our tax obligations are based in part on our corporate operating structure, including the manner in which we develop, value, use and hold our intellectual property, the jurisdictions in which we operate, how tax authorities assess revenue-based taxes such as sales and use taxes, the scope of our international operations and the value we ascribe to our intercompany transactions. Taxing authorities may challenge, and have challenged, our tax positions and methodologies for valuing developed technology or intercompany arrangements, positions regarding the collection of sales and use taxes, and the jurisdictions in which we are subject to taxes, which could expose us to additional taxes. Any adverse outcomes of such challenges to our tax positions could result in additional taxes for prior periods, interest and penalties, as well as higher future taxes. In addition, our future tax expense could increase as a result of changes in tax laws, regulations or accounting principles, or as a result of earning income in jurisdictions that have higher tax rates. For example, the European Commission has proposed, and various jurisdictions have enacted or are considering enacting laws that impose separate taxes on specified digital services, which may increase our tax obligations in such jurisdictions. Any increase in our tax expense could have a negative effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, the determination of our provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities requires significant estimates and judgment by management, and the tax treatment of certain transactions is uncertain. Given uncertainty with respect to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations, the income tax benefit/expense we record may vary significantly in future periods.  Any changes, ambiguity, or uncertainty in taxing jurisdictions’ administrative interpretations, decisions, policies and positions, including, the position of taxing authorities with respect to revenue generated by reference to certain digital services, could also materially impact our income tax liabilities. Although we believe we will make reasonable estimates and judgments, the ultimate outcome of any particular issue may differ from the amounts previously recorded in our financial statements and any such occurrence could materially affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

34


Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2. Properties

We maintain our principal offices in Ventura, California. We also lease office and data center space in various cities within the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. We believe that our facilities are adequate to meet our needs for the immediate future and that, should it be needed, we will be able to secure additional space to accommodate expansion of our operations.

We are not currently a party to any legal proceedings, litigation or claims, which, if determined adversely to us, would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. We may from time to time, be party to litigation and subject to claims incident to the ordinary course of business. Regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

35


PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Our Class A common stock began trading on the NASDAQ Global Market on September 21, 2016 under the symbol “TTD”. Prior to this date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock. There is no public trading market for our Class B common stock. Refer to Note 9 to our audited consolidated financial statements for more information regarding capitalization.

Holders of Record

As of January 31, 2021, there were approximately 14 holders of record of our Class A common stock and 13 holders of record of our Class B common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of record holders and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees. This number of holders also does not include stockholders whose shares may be held in trust by other entities.

Dividend Policy

We have never declared or paid any dividends on our Class A or Class B common stock, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain any earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will be dependent upon then-existing conditions, including our earnings, capital requirements, results of operations, financial condition, business prospects and other factors that our board of directors considers relevant. Refer to “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for additional information regarding our financial condition. In addition, our credit facility contains restrictions on our ability to pay dividends.

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

None.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.


36


Stock Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of ours under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.

The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on an initial investment of $100 in our Class A common stock between September 21, 2016 (our initial trading day) and December 31, 2020, with the comparative cumulative total returns of the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index, NASDAQ 100 Index and Russell 3000 Index over the same period. As previously discussed, we have not paid any cash dividends and, therefore, the cumulative total return calculation for us is based solely upon stock price appreciation (depreciation) and not reinvestment of cash dividends, whereas the data for the S&P 500 Index, NASDAQ 100 Index and Russell 3000 Index assumes reinvestments of dividends. The graph assumes the closing market price on September 21, 2016 of $30.10 per share as the initial value of our Class A common stock. The returns shown are based on historical results and are not necessarily indicative of, nor intended to forecast, future stock price performance.

 

 

 

37


Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following tables set forth our selected consolidated financial data for the periods indicated. We have derived the selected consolidated statements of operations data for 2020, 2019, and 2018 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The selected consolidated statements of operations data for 2017 and 2016 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 were derived from our audited consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of our future results.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

 

(in thousands, except per share data)

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

$

836,033

 

 

$

661,058

 

 

$

477,294

 

 

$

308,217

 

 

$

202,926

 

Operating expenses (1):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platform operations

 

 

178,812

 

 

 

156,180

 

 

 

114,098

 

 

 

66,230

 

 

 

39,876

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

174,742

 

 

 

132,882

 

 

 

87,071

 

 

 

61,379

 

 

 

46,056

 

Technology and development

 

 

166,654

 

 

 

116,752

 

 

 

83,892

 

 

 

52,806

 

 

 

27,313

 

General and administrative

 

 

171,617

 

 

 

143,048

 

 

 

84,910

 

 

 

58,446

 

 

 

32,163

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

691,825

 

 

 

548,862

 

 

 

369,971

 

 

 

238,861

 

 

 

145,408

 

Income from operations

 

 

144,208

 

 

 

112,196

 

 

 

107,323

 

 

 

69,356

 

 

 

57,518

 

Total other expense (income), net

 

 

305

 

 

 

(4,024

)

 

 

1,586

 

 

 

5,731

 

 

 

13,684

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

143,903

 

 

 

116,220

 

 

 

105,737

 

 

 

63,625

 

 

 

43,834

 

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

 

 

(98,414

)

 

 

7,902

 

 

 

17,597

 

 

 

12,827

 

 

 

23,352

 

Net income

 

$

242,317

 

 

$

108,318

 

 

$

88,140

 

 

$

50,798

 

 

$

20,482

 

Net income (loss) attributable to common

   stockholders (2)

 

$

242,317

 

 

$

108,318

 

 

$

88,140

 

 

$

50,798

 

 

$

(26,727

)

Net income (loss) per share attributable to

   common stockholders–basic (2)

 

$

5.24

 

 

$

2.43

 

 

$

2.08

 

 

$

1.26

 

 

$

(1.46

)

Net income (loss) per share attributable to

   common stockholders–diluted (2)

 

$

4.95

 

 

$

2.27

 

 

$

1.92

 

 

$

1.15

 

 

$

(1.46

)

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Financial and Operating Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross spend (3)

 

$

4,198,568

 

 

$

3,128,872

 

 

$

2,350,877

 

 

$

1,555,856

 

 

$

1,027,984

 

Gross billings (4)

 

$

4,168,260

 

 

$

3,095,687

 

 

$

2,285,013

 

 

$

1,491,742

 

 

$

990,561

 

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments

 

$

624,038

 

 

$

254,988

 

 

$

207,232

 

 

$

155,950

 

 

$

133,400

 

Accounts receivable, net

 

 

1,584,109

 

 

 

1,166,376

 

 

 

834,764

 

 

 

599,565

 

 

 

377,240

 

Total assets (5)

 

 

2,753,645

 

 

 

1,728,761

 

 

 

1,117,872

 

 

 

797,164

 

 

 

537,596

 

Accounts payable

 

 

1,348,480

 

 

 

868,618

 

 

 

669,147

 

 

 

490,377

 

 

 

321,163

 

Long-term debt, net of current portion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27,000

 

 

 

25,847

 

Total liabilities (5)

 

 

1,740,500

 

 

 

1,116,244

 

 

 

723,305

 

 

 

551,581

 

 

 

373,216

 

Total stockholders’ equity

 

 

1,013,145

 

 

 

612,517

 

 

 

394,567

 

 

 

245,583

 

 

 

164,380

 

 

 

(1)

Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows:

38


 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Platform operations

 

$

8,794

 

 

$

5,350

 

 

$

4,463

 

 

$

2,674

 

 

$

756

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

29,726

 

 

 

20,769

 

 

 

11,306

 

 

 

6,261

 

 

 

1,707

 

Technology and development

 

 

36,672

 

 

 

26,553

 

 

 

13,855

 

 

 

6,661

 

 

 

1,513

 

General and administrative

 

 

36,583

 

 

 

28,086

 

 

 

12,586

 

 

 

5,721

 

 

 

1,080

 

Total

 

$

111,775

 

 

$

80,758

 

 

$

42,210

 

 

$

21,317

 

 

$

5,056

 

 

Refer to Note 10 to our audited consolidated financial statements for more information regarding stock-based compensation expense.

(2)

Refer to Note 3 to our audited consolidated financial statements for a description of the net income (loss) attributable to common stockholders and net income (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders—basic and diluted computations.

(3)

Gross spend includes the value of a client’s purchases through our platform plus our platform fee, which is a percentage of a client’s purchases through the platform. We review gross spend for internal management purposes to assess market share and scale, and to plan for optimal levels of support for our clients. Some companies in our industry report revenue on a gross basis or use similar metrics, so tracking our gross spend allows us to compare our results to the results of those companies. Gross spend does not represent our revenue reported net on a GAAP basis. Our gross spend is influenced by the volume and characteristics of bids for advertising inventory won through our platform. We expect our revenue as a percentage of gross spend, which is sometimes referred to as take rate, to fluctuate due to the types of services and features selected by our clients through our platform and certain volume discounts. Other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate gross spend or similarly titled measures differently, which reduces its usefulness as a comparative measure.

(4)

Gross billings represents the amount we invoice our clients, net of allowances. As some of our clients have payment relationships directly with advertising inventory suppliers for the amount of advertising inventory the clients purchase through our platform, we do not invoice these clients for this spend, and we only invoice such clients for data, other services and our platform fee. Accordingly, gross billings are less than gross spend and represent gross spend, less platform discounts and less the value of advertising inventory and data that our clients purchase directly from publishers through our platform. We report revenue on a net basis which represents gross billings net of amounts we pay suppliers for the cost of advertising inventory, data and add-on features. We expect our revenue as a percentage of gross billings to fluctuate due to the types of services and features selected by our clients through our platform and certain volume discounts. We review gross billings for internal management purposes to adequately plan for our working capital needs and monitor collection risk.

(5)

The selected financial data for 2020 and 2019 reflects the adoption of Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842).  Refer to Note 2 – Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies for further detail. The selected financial data for 2018, 2017 and 2016 does not reflect the adoption of ASU No. 2016-02.

 

 

 

39


Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with the consolidated financial statements and the related notes to those statements included in Item 8 to this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In addition to historical financial information, the following discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, estimates, beliefs, and expectations, and involve risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause or contribute to these differences include those discussed below and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, particularly in the section titled “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and the “Special Note About Forward-Looking Statements”.

The following generally discusses 2020 and 2019 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019. Discussion of historical items and year-to-year comparisons between 2019 and 2018 that are not included in this discussion can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 filed with SEC on February 28, 2020. References to “Notes” are notes included in our consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Overview

 

We are a technology company that empowers buyers of advertising. Through our self-service, cloud-based platform, ad buyers can create, manage, and optimize more expressive data-driven digital advertising campaigns across ad formats, including display, video, audio, native and social, on a multitude of devices, such as computers, mobile devices, and CTV. Our platform’s integrations with major data, inventory, and publisher partners provides ad buyers reach and decisioning capabilities, and our enterprise APIs enable our clients to develop on top of the platform.

 

We commercially launched our platform in 2011, targeting the display advertising channel. Since launching, we have added additional advertising channels. In 2020, the gross spend on our platform came from multiple channels including mobile, video (which includes CTV), display, audio, native and social channels.

Our clients are primarily the advertising agencies and other service providers for advertisers, with whom we enter into ongoing MSAs. We generate revenue by charging our clients a platform fee based on a percentage of a client’s total spend on advertising. We also generate revenue from providing data and other value-added services and platform features.

 

Executive Summary

Highlights

For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:

 

our revenue was $836.0 million and $661.1 million, respectively, representing an increase of 26%; and

 

our net income was $242.3 million and $108.3 million, respectively.

Trends, Opportunities and Challenges

The growing digitization of media and fragmentation of audiences has increased the complexity of advertising, and thereby increased the need for automation in ad buying, which we provide on our platform. In order to grow, we will need to continue to develop our platform’s programmatic capabilities and advertising inventory. We believe that key opportunities include our ongoing global expansion, continuing development of our CTV, video, audio, and native ad inventory, and continuing development of data usage and advertising targeting capabilities.

We believe that growth of the programmatic advertising market is important for our ability to grow our business. Adoption of programmatic advertising by advertisers allows us to acquire new clients and grow revenue from existing clients. Although our clients include some of the largest advertising agencies in the world, we believe there is significant room for us to expand further within these clients and gain a larger amount of their advertising spend through our platform. We also believe that the industry trends noted above will lead to advertisers adopting programmatic advertising through platforms such as ours.

Similarly, the adoption of programmatic advertising by inventory owners and content providers allows us to expand the volume and type of advertising inventory that we present to our clients. For example, we have expanded our CTV, native and audio advertising offerings through our recent integrations with supply-side partners.

We invest for long-term growth. We anticipate that our operating expenses will continue to increase significantly in the foreseeable future as we invest in platform operations and technology and development to enhance our product features, including programmatic buying of CTV ad inventory, and in sales and marketing to acquire new clients and reinforce our relationships with existing clients. In addition, we expect to continue making investments in our infrastructure, including our information technology, financial and administrative systems and controls, to support our growing operations.

40


We believe the markets outside of the U.S., and in particular China, offer an opportunity for growth, although such markets also may pose challenges related to compliance with local laws and regulations, restrictions on foreign ownership or investment, uncertainty related to trade relations, and variety of additional risks. We intend to make additional investments in sales and marketing and product development to expand in these markets, including China, where we are making significant investments in our platform and growing our team.

We believe that these investments will contribute to our long-term growth, although they may negatively impact profitability in the near term.

Our business model has allowed us to grow significantly, and we believe that our operating leverage enables us to support future growth profitably.

COVID-19

The worldwide spread of COVID-19 has resulted, and is expected to continue to result, in a global slowdown of economic activity which is likely to decrease demand for a broad variety of goods and services, including those provided by our clients, while also disrupting sales channels and advertising and marketing activities for an unknown period of time until the virus is contained or economic activity normalizes. With the current decline in economic activity, our revenue growth has slowed, and the impact on our revenue and our results of operations is likely to continue, the size and duration of which we are currently unable to accurately predict. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operational and financial performance will depend on a variety of factors, including the duration and spread of the virus and its impact on our clients, partners, industry, and employees, all of which are uncertain at this time and cannot be accurately predicted. See “Risk Factors” for further discussion of the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business.

Factors Affecting Our Performance

Growth in and Retention of Client Spend

 

Our recent growth has been driven by expanding our share of spend by our existing clients and adding new clients. Our clients include some of the largest advertising agencies in the world, and we believe there is significant room for us to expand further within these clients. As a result, future revenue growth depends upon our ability to retain our existing clients and to gain a larger amount of their advertising spend through our platform.

 

In order to analyze gross spend contributions and growth from existing clients, we measure annual gross spend for the set of clients, or cohort, that commenced spending on our platform in a specific year relative to subsequent periods. The gross spend from each of our cohorts has increased over subsequent periods. However, over time we will likely lose clients from each cohort, clients may spend less on our platform and the growth rate of gross spend may change. Any such change could have a significant negative impact on gross spend and operating results.

Ability to Expand our Omnichannel Reach, Including CTV and Digital Radio

We enable the purchase of advertising inventory in a wide variety of formats, such as display, mobile, video, audio, social and native. Our future growth will depend on our ability to maintain and grow the inventory of, and spend on, other channels in addition to display advertising. We believe that our ability to integrate and offer CTV and digital radio advertising inventory for purchase through our platform, and in particular our ability to manage the increased costs that will accompany these purchases, will impact the future growth of our business.

Growth of the Programmatic Advertising Market

Our operating results and prospects will be impacted by the overall adoption of programmatic advertising by inventory owners and content providers, as well as advertisers and the agencies and service providers that represent them. Programmatic advertising has grown rapidly in recent years, and any acceleration, or slowing, of this growth would affect our operating and financial performance. In addition, even if the programmatic advertising market continues to grow at its current rate, our ability to position ourselves within the market will impact the future growth of our business.

Development of International Markets

We have been increasing our focus on markets outside the U.S. to serve the global needs of our clients. We believe that the global opportunity for programmatic advertising is significant due to the growing middle class abroad, and should continue to expand as publishers and advertisers outside the U.S. seek to adopt the benefits that programmatic advertising provides. To capitalize on this opportunity, we intend to continue investing in our presence internationally. Our growth and the success of our initiatives in newer markets will depend on the continued adoption of our platform by our existing clients, as well as new clients, in these markets. Information about geographic gross billings is set forth in Note 12—Segment and Geographic Information.

41


Seasonality

In the advertising industry, companies commonly experience seasonal fluctuations in revenue. For example, many advertisers allocate the largest portion of their budgets to the fourth quarter of the calendar year in order to coincide with increased holiday purchasing. Historically, the fourth quarter of the year reflects our highest level of advertising activity and the first quarter reflects the lowest level of such activity. We expect our revenue to continue to fluctuate based on seasonal factors that affect the advertising industry as a whole.

Components of Our Results of Operations

We have one primary business activity and operate in one reportable and operating segment.

Revenue

We generate revenue from clients who enter into agreements with us to use our platform to purchase advertising inventory, data and other add-on features.

We report revenue on a net basis which represents gross billings net of amounts we pay suppliers for the cost of advertising inventory, data and add-on features. Our accounts receivable are recorded at the amount of gross billings to clients, net of allowances, for the amounts we are responsible to collect, and our accounts payable are recorded at the amount payable to suppliers. Accordingly, both accounts receivable and accounts payable appear large in relation to revenue reported on a net basis.

Revenue as a percentage of gross spend may fluctuate from period to period due to a number of factors, such as changes in the proportion of spend represented by our larger clients with the lowest platform fees, our clients’ use of platform features and volume discounts. We expect that our revenue as a percentage of gross spend will fluctuate in the future, especially as we introduce and as our clients select new platform features, expand our omnichannel capabilities, extend our reach to more CTV inventory and add additional clients whose businesses may have different underlying business models.

Refer to “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates—Revenue Recognition” below for a description of our revenue recognition policies.

Operating Expenses

We classify our operating expenses into the following four categories and allocate overhead such as information technology infrastructure, rent and occupancy charges based on headcount for these categories:

Platform Operations. Platform operations expense consists of expenses related to hosting our platform, which includes “internet traffic” associated with the viewing of available impressions or queries per second (“QPS”) and providing support to our clients. Platform operations expense includes hosting costs, personnel costs, and amortization of acquired technology and capitalized software costs for the development of our platform. Personnel costs included in platform operations include salaries, bonuses, stock-based compensation, and employee benefit costs, and are primarily attributable to personnel who provide our clients with support using our platform and the personnel who support our platform. We capitalize certain costs associated with the development of our platform and amortize these costs in platform operations over their estimated useful lives.

We expect platform operations expenses to increase in absolute dollars in future periods as we continue to experience increased volumes of QPS through our platform and hire additional personnel to support our clients.

Sales and Marketing. Sales and marketing expense consists primarily of personnel costs, including salaries, bonuses, stock-based compensation, employee benefits costs and commission costs, for our sales and marketing personnel. Sales and marketing expense also includes costs for market development programs, advertising, promotional and other marketing activities. Commissions costs are expensed as incurred.

Our sales organization focuses on marketing our platform to increase its adoption by existing and new clients. We are also focused on expanding our international business by growing our sales teams in countries in which we currently operate, as well as establishing a presence in additional countries. As a result, we expect sales and marketing expenses to increase in absolute dollars in future periods. Sales and marketing expense as a percentage of revenue may fluctuate from period to period based on revenue levels and the timing of our investments in our sales and marketing functions as these investments may vary in scope and scale over periods and are impacted by the revenue seasonality in our industry and business.

42


Technology and Development. Our technology and development expense consists primarily of personnel costs, including salaries, bonuses, stock-based compensation and employee benefits costs, third-party consultant costs associated with the ongoing development and maintenance of our platform and integrations with our advertising and data inventory suppliers, and amortization of capitalized third-party software used in the development of our platform. Technology and development costs are expensed as incurred, except to the extent that such costs are associated with software development that qualifies for capitalization, which are then recorded as capitalized software development costs included in other assets, non-current on our consolidated balance sheet. We amortize capitalized software development costs relating to our platform in platform operations expense.

We believe that continued investment in our platform is critical to attaining our strategic objectives and long-term growth. We therefore expect technology and development expense to increase as we continue to invest in the development of our platform to support additional features and functions, increase the number of advertising and data inventory suppliers and ramp up the volume of advertising spend on our platform. Our development efforts also include additional platform functionality to support our international expansion. We also intend to invest in technology to further automate our business processes.

General and Administrative. Our general and administrative expense consists primarily of personnel costs, including salaries, bonuses, stock-based compensation, and employee benefits costs associated with our executive, finance, legal, human resources, compliance, and other administrative personnel, as well as accounting and legal professional services fees, and credit loss expense.

We expect to continue to invest in corporate infrastructure to support growth. We expect general and administrative expenses to increase in absolute dollars in future periods.

Other Expense (Income), Net

Interest Expense. Interest expense is mainly related to our debt, which carries a variable interest rate.

Interest Income. Interest income is mainly related to our cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, which carry variable interest rates.

Foreign Currency Exchange Loss, Net. Foreign currency exchange loss, net consists primarily of gains and losses on foreign currency transactions. We have foreign currency exposure related to our accounts receivable and, to a much lesser extent, accounts payable that are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar, principally the Euro, British Pound, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen and Indonesian Rupiah.

Provision for (benefit from) Income Taxes

The provision for (benefit from) income taxes consists primarily of U.S. federal, state, and foreign income taxes. Our income tax provision (benefit) may be significantly affected by changes to our estimates for tax in jurisdictions in which we operate, and other estimates utilized in determining the global effective tax rate. Actual results may also differ from our estimates based on changes in economic conditions. Such changes could have a substantial impact on the income tax provision. We evaluate the judgments surrounding our estimates and make adjustments, as appropriate, each reporting period. Our income tax provision (benefit) may also be affected by the timing of vesting and/or exercise of our stock-based awards. The extent of the impact may be subject to volatility resulting from changes in our stock price and volume of transactions by employees.

Our effective tax rate differs from the U.S. federal statutory tax rate of 21% primarily due to tax benefits associated with employee exercises of stock options and vesting of restricted stock units, state taxes, research and development tax credits, the federal rate differential on NOL carrybacks, and foreign tax rate differences.

Realization of our deferred tax assets is dependent primarily on the generation of future taxable income. In considering the need for a valuation allowance, we consider our historical, as well as future, projected taxable income along with other objectively verifiable evidence. Objectively verifiable evidence includes our realization of tax attributes, assessment of tax credits and utilization of net operating loss carryforwards during the year.

43


Results of Operations

The following tables set forth our consolidated results of operations and our consolidated results of operations as a percentage of revenue for the periods presented.

 

 

 

 

For the Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Revenue

 

$

836,033

 

 

$

661,058

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platform operations

 

 

178,812

 

 

 

156,180

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

174,742

 

 

 

132,882

 

Technology and development

 

 

166,654

 

 

 

116,752

 

General and administrative

 

 

171,617

 

 

 

143,048

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

691,825

 

 

 

548,862

 

Income from operations

 

 

144,208

 

 

 

112,196

 

Total other expense (income), net

 

 

305

 

 

 

(4,024

)

Income before income taxes

 

 

143,903

 

 

 

116,220

 

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

 

 

(98,414

)

 

 

7,902

 

Net income

 

$

242,317

 

 

$

108,318

 

 

 

 

For the Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

(as a percentage of revenue*)

 

Revenue

 

 

100

%

 

 

100

%

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platform operations

 

 

21

 

 

 

24

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

21

 

 

 

20

 

Technology and development

 

 

20

 

 

 

18

 

General and administrative

 

 

21

 

 

 

22

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

83

 

 

 

83

 

Income from operations