S-1/A 1 tm2125950-10_s1a.htm S-1/A tm2125950-10_s1a - block - 40.8908605s
As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 18, 2022
Registration No. 333-261059
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
Amendment No. 1
to
FORM S-1
REGISTRATION STATEMENT
UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
DIRECT DIGITAL HOLDINGS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
7370
(Primary Standard Industrial
Classification Code Number)
83-0662116
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
1233 West Loop South, Suite 1170
Houston, TX 77027
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)
Mark Walker
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Keith Smith
President
1233 West Loop Suite 1170
Houston, TX 77027
(832) 402-1051
(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)
Copies to:
Phyllis Young, Esq.
Stephen E. Older, Esq.
Rakesh Gopalan, Esq.
McGuireWoods LLP
1251 Avenue of the Americas, 20th Floor
New York, New York 10020
(212) 548-2100
Ben A. Stacke, Esq.
Jonathan R. Zimmerman, Esq.
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
2200 Wells Fargo Center
90 South Seventh Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
(612) 766-7000
Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after the effective date of this registration statement.
If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box.   ☒
If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.   ☐
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.   ☐
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.   ☐
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 definitions 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 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act. ☐
CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE
Title of Each Class of Securities
to be Registered
Amount To Be
Registered(1)
Proposed Maximum
Offering Price
Per Share
Proposed Maximum
Aggregate
Offering Price(1)(2)
Amount of
Registration Fee(2)
Class A common stock, par value $0.001 per share
4,600,000
$9.00
$41,400,000
$3,837.78
Representatives’ Warrants(3)
Class A common stock underlying Representatives’ Warrants
230,000
$10.80
$2,484,000
$230.27
Total
4,830,000
      —
$43,884,000
$4,068.05 (4)
(1)
Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the amount of the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(a) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
(2)
Includes 600,000 shares of Class A common stock that the underwriters have the option to purchase to cover over-allotments, if any.
(3)
We have agreed to issue to the representatives of the several underwriters warrants to purchase the number of shares of our common stock (the “Representatives’ Warrants”) in the aggregate amount equal to five percent (5%) of the shares of our common stock to be issued and sold. The Representatives’ Warrants are exercisable for a price per share equal to 120% of the public offering price.
(4)
The registrant previously paid $3,708.00 of this amount in connection with the initial filing of this Registration Statement.
The registrant hereby amends this registration statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the registrant shall file a further amendment that specifically states that this registration statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until the registration statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.
SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED JANUARY 18, 2022
PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS
4,000,000 Shares
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Class A Common Stock
This is our initial public offering of our Class A common stock. Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for shares of our Class A common stock. We currently estimate that the initial public offering price will be between $7.00 and $9.00 per share. We have applied to list our Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “DRCT.”
We intend to use the net proceeds that we receive from this offering to purchase from Direct Digital Holdings, LLC (“DDH LLC”) newly issued common units of DDH LLC (the “LLC Units”). There is no public market for the LLC Units. The purchase price for each newly issued LLC Unit will be equal to the initial public offering price of each share of our Class A common stock, less the underwriting discounts and commissions referred to below. We intend to cause DDH LLC to use the net proceeds it receives from us in connection with this offering as described in the section titled “Use of Proceeds,” including to repurchase from USDM Holdings, Inc. (“USDM”) all of the units in DDH LLC held by USDM. The other holders of units in DDH LLC will retain their units in DDH LLC. This offering is being conducted through what is commonly referred to as an umbrella partnership-C Corporation (“Up-C”) structure, which is often used by partnerships and limited liability companies undertaking an initial public offering. The Up-C structure will allow the holders of the units in DDH LLC, who will retain their equity ownership in DDH LLC (collectively, the “Continuing LLC Owners”), to continue to realize tax benefits associated with owning interests in an entity that is treated as a partnership, or “passthrough” entity, for U.S. federal income tax purposes and may provide future tax benefits for both Direct Digital Holdings, Inc. and the Continuing LLC Owners if and when the Continuing LLC Owners ultimately redeem or exchange their LLC Units for shares of our Class A common stock. We are a holding company, and upon the closing of this offering and the application of proceeds therefrom our principal asset will be the LLC Units we purchase from DDH LLC, representing an aggregate 26.0% economic interest in DDH LLC. The remaining 74.0% economic interest in DDH LLC will be owned by the Continuing LLC Owners through their ownership of LLC Units. See the section titled “Organizational Transactions.”
Following the closing of this offering, we will have two classes of common stock: Class A common stock and Class B common stock. The Class B common stock, which we refer to as noneconomic voting equity interests, will have no rights to receive any distributions or dividends, whether cash or stock, and will not be publicly traded. Each share of Class A common stock and each share of Class B common stock will entitle its holder to one vote per share on all matters presented to our stockholders. Immediately following the completion of this offering, (i) all of our Class B common stock will be held by the Continuing LLC Owners, on a one-to-one basis with the number of LLC Units they respectively own, (ii) the holders of our Class A common stock issued in this offering collectively will hold 100% of the economic interests in us and 26.0% of the voting power in us, (iii) the Continuing LLC Owners, through their ownership of Class B common stock, collectively will hold no economic interest in us and the remaining 74.0% of the voting power in us and (iv) USDM will hold no interest in DDH LLC or us.
We will be the sole managing member of DDH LLC. We will operate and control all of the business and affairs of DDH LLC and, through DDH LLC and its subsidiaries, conduct our business. Upon the completion of this offering, the aggregate number of shares owned by our controlling stockholder, Direct Digital Management, LLC (“DDM”), a holding company owned by our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and our President, will represent approximately 74.0% of the total voting power of our outstanding capital stock (or approximately 71.2% of the total voting power of our outstanding capital stock, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock). As a result of the voting control held by DDM following this offering, we will be a “controlled company” under the listing requirements of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC and the Nasdaq Marketplace Rules. We do not intend to rely on the exemptions from the corporate governance requirements of the Nasdaq Marketplace Rules.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and will be subject to reduced public reporting requirements. This prospectus complies with the requirements that apply to an issuer that is an emerging growth company. See “Prospectus Summary — Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company.”
Investing in our Class A common stock involves risks. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 23 to read about factors you should consider before buying our Class A common stock.
Per Share
Total
Initial public offering price
$         $        
Underwriting discounts and commissions(1)
$ $
Proceeds, before expenses, to us
$ $
(1)
See “Underwriting” for additional information regarding compensation payable to the underwriters.
The offering is being underwritten on a firm commitment basis. We have granted the underwriters an option for 45 days to purchase up to an additional 600,000 shares of Class A common stock from us at the initial public offering price less the underwriting discounts and commissions to cover over-allotments, if any.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any other regulatory body or state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
The underwriters expect to deliver the shares of Class A common stock to purchasers on or about                  , 2022.
Joint Book-Running Managers
The Benchmark Company
Roth Capital Partners
Prospectus dated                  , 2022.

  We reach your audience at the right time in the right place and on the right device.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Through and including           , 2022 (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers that buy, sell, or trade shares of our Class A common stock, whether or not participating in our initial public offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This delivery requirement is in addition to the obligation of dealers to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriter and with respect to its unsold allotments or subscriptions.
Neither we nor the underwriters have authorized anyone to provide any information or to make any representations other than those contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectuses we have prepared. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. We are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy, shares of our Class A common stock only in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted. The information in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or any sale of shares of our Class A common stock. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since that date.
For investors outside the United States: Neither we nor any of the underwriters have done anything that would permit this offering or the possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than in the United States. Persons outside of the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, this offering and the possession and distribution of this prospectus outside of the United States.
INDUSTRY AND MARKET DATA
Unless otherwise indicated, information in this prospectus concerning economic conditions, our industry, our markets and our competitive position is based on a variety of sources, including information from independent industry analysts and publications, as well as our own estimates and research.
 
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Our estimates are derived from publicly available information released by third-party sources, as well as data from our internal research, and are based on such data and our knowledge of our industry, which we believe to be reasonable. The independent industry publications used in this prospectus were not prepared on our behalf. While we are not aware of any misstatements regarding any information presented in this prospectus, forecasts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, estimates and projections involve risk and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those described under the headings “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors.”
TRADEMARKS AND TRADE NAMES
We own or have rights to trademarks, service marks and trade names that we use in connection with the operation of our business, including our corporate names and logos. Other trademarks, service marks and trade names appearing in this prospectus are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, some of the trademarks, service marks and trade names referred to in this prospectus are listed without the ® or ™ symbols, but we will assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights to our trademarks, service marks and trade names.
 
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BASIS OF PRESENTATION
In connection with the closing of this offering, we will effect certain organizational transactions. Unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise requires, all information in this prospectus reflects the completion of the organizational transactions and this offering (the “Organizational Transactions”). See the section titled “Organizational Transactions” for additional information regarding the Organizational Transactions.
Unless the context requires otherwise, references in this prospectus to:

the “Company,” “Direct Digital,” “Direct Digital Holdings,” “DDH,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer (i) following the completion of the Organizational Transactions, including this offering, to Direct Digital Holdings, Inc., and, unless otherwise stated, all of its subsidiaries, including Direct Digital Holdings, LLC, which we refer to as “DDH LLC,” and, unless otherwise stated, its subsidiaries, and (ii) on or prior to the completion of the Organizational Transactions, including this offering, to Direct Digital Holdings, LLC and, unless otherwise stated, its subsidiaries.

“Continuing LLC Owners” refers to the individuals and entities that will continue to own LLC Units (as defined below) and which also hold noneconomic shares of Class B common stock after the completion of the Organizational Transactions. The Continuing LLC Owners may, following the completion of this offering, exchange or redeem their LLC Units for shares of our Class A common stock as described in the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — DDH LLC Agreement,” together with a cancellation of the same number of their shares of Class B common stock.

“DDM” refers to Direct Digital Management, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company owned by Mark Walker, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Keith Smith, our President.

“LLC Units” refers to the multiple classes of common units in DDH LLC until we adopt our amended and restated LLC agreement upon the effectiveness of this offering, after which “LLC Units” refers to economic nonvoting common units in DDH LLC.

“Tax Receivable Agreement” refers to the tax receivable agreement to be entered into following this offering by and among Direct Digital Holdings, DDH LLC and the Continuing LLC Owners. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement” for additional information.

“USDM” refers to USDM Holdings, LLC, a holding company owned by Leah Woolford, former manager of DDH LLC, which (i) following the completion of the Organization Transactions, including this offering, will hold no LLC Units, no shares of our Class A common stock and no shares of our Class B common stock and (ii) on or prior to the completion of the Organizational Transactions, including this offering, holds certain units in DDH LLC.
Following completion of the Organizational Transactions and the application of net proceeds therefrom, we will be a holding company and the sole managing member of DDH LLC and our principal asset will be our interests in DDH LLC. DDH LLC is the predecessor of the issuer, Direct Digital, for financial reporting purposes. Accordingly, this prospectus contains the historical consolidated financial statements of DDH LLC. As we will have no other interest in any operations other than those of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries, the historical consolidated financial information included in this prospectus is that of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries. As Direct Digital has no business transactions or activities to date and had no assets or liabilities during the periods presented, the historical financial statements of this entity are not included in this prospectus. Following completion of this offering, the reporting entity for purposes of periodic reporting will be Direct Digital.
The unaudited pro forma financial information of Direct Digital Holdings presented in this prospectus has been derived by the application of pro forma adjustments to the historical consolidated financial statements of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries included elsewhere in this prospectus. The unaudited pro forma consolidated financial data of Direct Digital Holdings presented in this prospectus has been derived from the application of pro forma adjustments to the historical consolidated financial statements of DDH LLC included elsewhere in this prospectus. These pro forma adjustments give effect to the Organizational Transactions as described in the section titled “Organizational Transactions,” including the completion of
 
iii

 
this offering and other related transactions, as if all such transactions had occurred on an earlier date. See the section titled “Unaudited Pro Forma Consolidated Financial Information” for a complete description of the adjustments and assumptions underlying the unaudited pro forma consolidated financial data included in this prospectus.
 
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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY
This summary highlights information contained in greater detail elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary is not complete and does not contain all of the information you should consider in making your investment decision. You should read the entire prospectus carefully before making an investment in our Class A common stock and should carefully consider, among other things, our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and the sections entitled “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Business” and “Organizational Transactions” included elsewhere in this prospectus.
Company Overview
We are an end-to-end, full-service programmatic advertising platform primarily focused on providing advertising technology, data-driven campaign optimization and other solutions to underserved and less efficient markets on both the buy- and sell-side of the digital advertising ecosystem. Direct Digital Holdings, Inc. is the holding company for the business formed in 2018 by our acquisitions of Huddled Masses, LLC (“Huddled Masses”) and Colossus Media, LLC (“Colossus Media”). Colossus Media operates our proprietary sell-side programmatic platform operating under the trademarked banner of Colossus SSP™ (“Colossus SSP”). Huddled Masses is the platform for the buy-side of our business. In 2020, we acquired Orange142, LLC (“Orange142”) to further bolster our overall programmatic buy-side advertising platform and to enhance our offerings across multiple industry verticals such as travel, healthcare, education, financial services, consumer products, etc. with particular emphasis on small- and mid-sized businesses (which we define as companies with revenue between $5 million and $500 million) transitioning into digital with growing digital media budgets.
This offering is being conducted through what is commonly referred to as an Up-C structure, which is often used by partnerships and limited liability companies when they decide to undertake an initial public offering. See “Summary of the Organizational Transactions” later in this Prospectus Summary for important details regarding our structure.
In the digital advertising space, buyers, particularly small- and mid-sized businesses, can potentially achieve significantly higher return on investment (“ROI”) on their advertising spend compared to traditional media advertising by leveraging data-driven over-the-top/connected TV (“OTT/CTV”), video and display, in-app, native, and audio advertisements that are delivered both at scale and on a highly targeted basis. Traditional (non-digital) advertising, such as broadcast TV or print media, follows the “spray and pray” approach to reach out to the public, but the ROI from using such traditional (non-digital) advertising campaigns is mostly unpredictable. On the other hand, digital advertising is heavily data-driven and can provide real-time details of targeted advertising campaigns and outcomes. On the sell-side, publishers can more successfully sell their advertising inventory in a programmatic manner by sharing data and information about their digital audiences at scale on an individualized basis, which helps buyers on SSPs such as our Colossus SSP to better target audiences.
 
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We believe that we have a unique competitive advantage due to our data-driven technology that allows us to provide front-end, buy-side planning for our small- and mid-sized clients, coupled with our proprietary Colossus SSP where we can curate the last-mile in the execution process to drive higher ROI. Each month, the Colossus SSP processes over 35 billion impressions and over 150 billion auction bid requests that seek to buy ad inventory from our publishers. In September 2021, Colossus SSP served over 39,386 clients. In our business and throughout this prospectus, we use the terms client and customer interchangeably.
We enable small- and mid-sized clients to leverage programmatic technology to engage their potential customers more directly, on a one-on-one basis, in any local market, with specificity to media device and footprint. Our technology leverages data to assess where our clients’ potential customers are in the decision-making process and manage campaign pacing and optimization based on data-driven analytics to drive the purchasing decision or encourage the call to action. The result is the mutual benefit to both our buy-side and sell-side clients, in that our buy-side clients enjoy a more even playing field compared to larger advertisers by driving more effective marketing and advertising in local markets that are compatible to their business footprint. In addition, our sell-side clients enjoy greater opportunity to monetize their ad inventory to new ad buyers that otherwise would be unavailable to them.
We have aligned our business strategy to capitalize on what we believe are significant growth opportunities due to fundamental market shifts and industry inefficiencies. Several trends, happening in parallel, are revolutionizing the way that advertising is bought and sold. Specifically, the rise of the internet has led to a wholesale change in the way that media is consumed and monetized, as ads can be digitally delivered on a 1-to-1 basis. In traditional methods of advertising, such as broadcast TV, ads can target a specific network, program or geography, but not a single household or individual as digital and OTT/CTV ads can. Traditional television U.S. ad spending declined by 12.5% in 2020, while digital spend grew by 15% during the same period and is projected to show growth of approximately 25% for 2021. Additionally, we expect that the continued destabilization, including the phase out of digital “cookies” in 2023, will (i) create more opportunities for technology companies that provide next-generation CTV and digital solutions and (ii) minimize performance disruption for advertisers and agencies.
 
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The buy-side component of our business is comprised of Huddled Masses, which has been in operation since 2012, and Orange142, which has been in operation since 2013. Both businesses offer technology-enabled advertising solutions and strategic planning to clients. In particular, our buy-side platform focuses on small-to-mid-sized clients. With marketing budgets typically more limited and operating footprints generally more local or state-to-state, we believe small- and mid-sized businesses are focused primarily on ROI-based results that deliver precise advertising and measurable campaign success to level the playing field with larger competitors. Serving the needs of hundreds of small- and mid-sized clients, with more than 4,000 campaigns annually, the buy-side of our business leverages the insights of leading demand side platforms (“DSPs”), such as The Trade Desk, Xandr, Google DV360, MediaMath and others, to drive increased advertising ROI and reduced customer acquisition costs for our clients.
Colossus Media, which has been in operation since 2017, is our proprietary sell-side programmatic platform operating under the trademarked banner of Colossus SSP™. Colossus SSP is a stand-alone tech-enabled, data-driven platform that helps deliver targeted advertising to diverse and multicultural audiences, including African Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans and LGBTQ+ customers, as well as other specific audiences. We partner with both large publishers such as Hearst, Meredith, Gannett, Univision, and several others, as well as smaller publishers such as Ebony Magazine, People Magazine, Family Traveler, Dinero, Sailing World, and many others.
Our business strategy on the sell-side also presents significant growth potential, as we believe we are well positioned to be able to bring underserved multicultural publishers into the advertising ecosystem, thereby increasing our value proposition across all clients including our large clients. We have proprietary rights to the Colossus SSP via a license agreement with a third-party developer. We believe the Colossus SSP is the last-mile of delivery for our buy-side clients in that our customized technology curates unique, highly-optimized audiences informed by proprietary data and data analytics, resulting in increased campaign performance.
Each impression or transaction occurs in a fraction of a second. Given that most transactions take place in an auction/bidding format, we continue to make investments across the platform to further reduce the processing time. In addition to the robust infrastructure supporting our platform, it is also critical that we align with key industry partners in the digital supply chain. The Colossus SSP is agnostic to any specific demand side platform.
We also leverage a sophisticated data management platform, which is DDH’s proprietary data collection and data marketing platform used to gather first-party data, market intelligence and audience segmentation information to support campaign optimization efforts for buy-side clients, Colossus SSP clients and third-party clients. Our combined platform offers results in an enhanced, highly loyal client base, particularly on the buy-side.
Our Industry and Trends
There are several key industry trends that are revolutionizing the way that advertising is bought and sold. We are well positioned to take advantage of the rapidly evolving industry trends in digital marketing and shifts in consumer behavior, including:
Shift to Digital Advertising.   Media has increasingly become more digital as a result of three key items:

Advances in technology with more sophisticated digital content delivery across multiple platforms;

Changes in consumer behavior, including spending longer portions of the day using mobile and other devices; and

Better audience segmentation with more efficient targeting and measurable results.
The resulting shift has enabled a variety of options for advertisers to efficiently target and measure their advertising campaigns across nearly every media channel and device. These efforts have been led by big-budgeted, large, multi-national corporations incentivized to cast a broad advertising net to support
 
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national brands. Based on eMarketer data, 65% of small- and mid-sized companies expect to increase their programmatic advertising budget, and of those companies, 12% expect to increase their advertising spending by over 25%.
Shift from Linear Broadcast to OTT/CTV.   According to eMarketer, as of the end of 2019, approximately 84 million U.S. households maintained a cable subscription which declined to approximately 78 million U.S. households at the end of 2020. However, advertising reach could access more than 104 million households via OTT and CTV channels. Consumers increasingly want the flexibility and freedom to consume content on their own terms resulting in access to premium content at lower prices and with fewer interruptions. Advertisers are recognizing these trends and reallocating their ad budgets accordingly to those companies that can access audiences through a variety of existing and new channels.
Increased Adoption of Digital Advertising by Small- and Mid-Sized Companies.   Only recently small- and mid-sized businesses have begun to leverage the power of digital media in meaningful ways, as emerging technologies have enabled advertising across multiple channels in a highly localized nature. Campaign efficiencies yielding measurable results and higher advertising ROI, as well as the needs necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have prompted these companies to begin utilizing digital advertising on an accelerated pace. We believe this market is rapidly expanding, and that small-to-mid-sized advertisers will continue to increase their digital spend.
Significant Increase in Multicultural Audience and Targeted Content.   As digital media has grown and emerging marketing channels continue to gain adoption, audience segmentation, including on multicultural lines, has become more granular. A growing and increasing segment of those audiences is the multicultural audience, which has been traditionally underserved in the industry. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, racial minority and multi-racial consumers represent 42% of the U.S. population and are projected to be the numerical majority in the U.S. by 2044. When we expand the definition of multicultural to include LGBTQ+ customers, the numbers are significantly greater. Advertisers and publishers alike face the same challenge. Advertisers are seeking new avenues and opportunities to connect with multicultural audiences in their natural media consumption environments while publishers are producing unique content to attract loyal consumers. The advantage will go to those innovative companies able to directly connect both sides to those audiences and leverage the insights flowing from those connections.
Local Ad Buying Becoming More Programmatic.   Programmatic advertising enables advertisers to precisely target local audiences and increasingly an “audience of one.” Large amounts of inventory have been consolidated, allowing local advertisers to then be more selective about where, when and to whom they show their ads. The technology behind programmatic advertising, such as geotargeting, IP address identification, 1-3-5 radius store location advertising, has provided the opportunity for targeted local advertising to smaller advertisers, which technologies in the past have been more easily available to larger national advertisers. We believe being able to go into a programmatic platform and target the same audience across all digital inventory is a major competitive advantage. Additionally, we also believe that the ability to customize audiences to the needs of local providers is a significant benefit for local advertisers since they are able to deviate from the broad audience segments defined by national advertisers. Higher customer engagement translates into higher retention and extended customer lifecycle representing the opportunity to sell and upsell customers. We believe the local advertising market remains in the early stages of understanding and leveraging these capabilities.
Death of Cookies Will Likely Destabilize Small- to Mid-Size Business Ad Market.   As the advertising industry faces the eventual phasing out of third-party cookies, namely by Google, by 2023, small-to-mid-sized business will face potentially greater challenges in the adoption and transition to digital. While first-party data driven by first-party cookies will still have broad-based advertising support, more robust advertising efforts are expected to experience some level of performance degradation. Specifically, the inability to tie ad impressions to an identity will add to the list of challenges already being faced by small- to mid-sized businesses. We expect that the destabilization will create significant opportunities for next-generation technology companies that can provide media buying solutions and minimize performance disruption for advertisers and agencies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a greater focus on ROI on ad spend performance. Compared to traditional channels, digital ads are more measurable and flexible, making them more attractive and resilient.
 
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(Based on data from eMarketer)
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Our Customers
On the buy-side of our business, our customers consist of purchasers of programmatic advertising inventory. We had approximately 150 direct customers during the year ended December 31, 2020 and approximately 158 direct customers during the nine months ended September 30, 2021, in each case consisting of advertising buyers, including small- and mid-sized companies, large advertising holding companies (which may manage several agencies), independent advertising agencies and mid-market advertising service organizations. However, we work on over 4,000 campaigns annually, as many advertising agencies and advertising holding companies have decision-making that is generally highly decentralized, such that purchasing decisions are made, and relationships with advertisers are located, at the agency, local branch or division level. We serve a variety of customers across multiple industries including travel/tourism (including destination marketing organizations or DMOs), energy, consumer packaged goods (“CPG”), healthcare, education, financial services (including cryptocurrency technologies) and other industries. Some of the significant brands we work with on the buy-side include Curo, the U.S. Army, Just Energy, Bitcoin Depot, Visit Virginia Beach, Visit Colorado Springs, and Pigeon Forge.
On the sell-side of our business, Colossus SSP, the buyers on our platform include DSPs, agencies and individual advertisers. We have broad exposure to the ecosystem of buyers, reaching on average approximately 15,400 advertisers per month in 2020, which has increased to approximately 56,025 per month during the nine months ended September 30, 2021. As spending on programmatic advertising increasingly becomes a larger share of the overall ad spend, advertisers and agencies are seeking greater control of their digital advertising supply chains. To take advantage of this industry shift, we have entered into Supply Path Optimization (“SPO”) agreements directly with buyers. As part of these agreements, we are providing advertisers and agencies with benefits ranging from custom data and workflow integrations, product features, volume-based business terms, and visibility into campaign performance data and methodology. As a result of these direct relationships, our existing advertisers and agencies are incentivized to allocate an increasing percentage of their advertising budgets to our platform.
 
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Our Competitive Strengths
We believe the following attributes and capabilities form our core strengths and provide us with competitive advantages:

End-to-End, Technology-Driven Solution Focused on Providing Higher Value to Underserved Markets.    Our small- and mid-sized client base is seeking high ROI, low customer acquisition costs, and measurable results that grow their topline. Because we focus exclusively on the first and last miles of media delivery, we engage clients at the front-end of the digital supply chain with the first dollar of spend, in many cases prior to agency involvement, and drive data-driven results across the digital advertising ecosystem to optimize ROI. We offer an end-to-end solution that enables us to set and carry-out the digital campaign strategy of our clients in full, in a more efficient and less expensive manner than some of our competitors. Small- and mid-sized companies are looking for partners that can drive results across the entire digital supply chain. On the Colossus SSP, we offer a wide range of niche and general market publishers an opportunity to maximize advertising revenue driven by technology-enabled targeted advertising to multicultural and other audiences. We believe our technology’s ability to tailor our efforts to our clients-specific needs and inform those efforts with data and algorithmic learnings is a long-term advantage to serving this end of the market.

Comprehensive Processes Enhance Ad Inventory Quality and Reduce Invalid Traffic (“IVT”).   We operate what we believe to be one of the most comprehensive processes in the digital advertising ecosystem to enhance ad inventory quality. In August 2021, Colossus SSP was ranked by MediaMath as 4th among the industry’s approximately 80 supply-side companies in terms of key quality measures such as transparency, fraud detection, and accountability. In the advertising industry, inventory quality is assessed in terms of IVT, which can be impacted by fraud such as “fake eyeballs” generated by automated technologies set up to artificially inflate impression counts. As a result of our platform design and proactive IVT mitigation efforts, in 2020, as well as for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, less than 1% of inventory was determined to be invalid, resulting in minimal financial impact to our customers. We address IVT on a number of fronts, including: sophisticated technology, which detects and avoids invalid traffic on the front end; direct publisher and inventory relationships, for supply path optimization; and ongoing campaign and inventory performance review, to ensure inventory quality and brand protection controls are in place.

Curated Data-Driven Sell-Side Platform (“SSP”) to Support Buy-Side.   The Colossus SSP enables us to gather data to build and develop unique product offerings for our clients. The ability to curate our supply allows us to serve a broad range of clients with challenging and unique advertising needs and optimize campaign performance in a way that our siloed competitors are unable to do. This model, together with our infrastructure solutions and ability to quickly access excess server capacity, helps us scale up efficiently and allows us to grow our business at a faster pace than a pure buy-side solution would. In addition, our clients can easily buy targeted data from over 150 sources through our platform. We also provide clients access to our proprietary data through our data management platform, which only increases with continued use of our platform. We believe that the integration of data and decisioning within a single platform enables us to better serve our clients.

High Client Retention Rate and Cross Selling Opportunities.   In September 2021, we had approximately 158 clients on the buy-side through 1,824 different campaigns and 56,025 clients on the sell-side. They understand the independent nature of our platform and relentless focus on driving ROI-based results. Our value proposition is complete alignment across our entire digital supply platform beginning with the first dollar in and last dollar out. We are technology and media agnostic, and our clients trust us to provide the best opportunity for success of their brands and businesses. As a result, our clients have been loyal, with over 90% client retention for the clients that represent approximately 80% of our revenues. In addition, we cultivate client relationships through our pipeline of moderate and self-serve clients that conduct campaigns within our platform that eventually grow into managed service clients, which has resulted in their increased use of our platform over time. As our clients expand their usage of our technology platform, they often transition to our managed services delivery model, which in turn drives increased client loyalty. The managed services delivery model allows us to combine our technology with a highly personalized offering to strategically design and manage advertising campaigns, provide ad hoc support and recommend strategy adjustments as needed.
 
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Growing and Profitable Business Model.   We have grown our revenue steadily and profitably, which we believe demonstrates the power of our technology platform, the strength of our client relationships and the leverage inherent to our business model. For the year ended December 31, 2020, our sell-side advertising revenue increased to $2.8 million compared to $0.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, or an increase of 253%, and for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, our sell-side advertising revenue increased to $5.3 million compared to $1.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020. On September 30, 2020, we acquired Orange142 to further bolster our overall buy-side advertising platform and enhance our offerings across multiple industry verticals such as travel, healthcare, education, financial services, consumer products and others, with particular emphasis on small- and mid-sized businesses transitioning into digital with growing digital media budgets. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, our net loss was flat at $(0.9) million for both periods. For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, net income was $0.6 million compared to net loss of $(0.4) million for the same period in 2020. For the year ended December 31, 2020, Adjusted EBITDA increased to $0.6 million compared to Adjusted EBTIDA of $(0.9) million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $1.5 million, or 171%. For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, Adjusted EBITDA increased to $4.5 million compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $(0.1) million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020. (see “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” later in this Prospectus Summary for more information about our use of non-GAAP financial measures).

Solutions for the Destabilization of Advertising.   As a result of the impending phase out of third-party cookies by 2023 by Google, we have begun integrating identity resolution solutions in order to provide our clients with accurate, targeted advertising without cookies. These solutions provide higher CPM (cost per thousand impressions) advertising, thus resulting in higher revenues. Leveraging our third-party technology providers, our technology has a potential reach of over 250 million matched people online and is powered by over 600 million unique online authentication events per month. To cater to the need for precision and scale, we will be investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to build out our own collection of identities, often referred to as an “ID Lake,” from first-party and third-party data sources, that will facilitate matches and relations between the disparate sets of data.

Experienced Management Team.   Our management team, led by our two founders, has significant experience in the digital advertising industry and with identifying and integrating acquired businesses. Specifically, our two founders, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Walker and President Keith Smith, have over 45 years of combined experience. The team has led digital marketing efforts for companies both large and small, with unique experience leading small- and mid-sized companies through the challenges of transitioning platforms into the programmatic advertising space. Our Chief Technology Officer, Anu Pillai, is experienced in developing digital platforms on both the buy-side and sell-side, ranging from consumer packaged goods companies focused on e-commerce to publishers seeking to monetize their ad inventory. Our Chief Financial Officer, Susan Echard, a former senior auditor at Ernst & Young LLP, has significant experience working with public companies directly as well a strong background with mergers and acquisitions.

ESG-Centered Strategy.   We believe our business strategy promotes the ideals of a business focused on environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) issues, with particular focus on social and governance issues. Our unique focus has already resulted in numerous partnerships with both large and small advertisers as the multicultural market continues to grow and expand.
Social, Diversity and Governance
We believe it is essential for our organization, from top to bottom, to understand and relate to the issues our clients face on both the buy-side and sell-side. Our founding owners are of African-American descent and founded our Company on multicultural principles designed to alleviate the challenges that buyers and publishers face accessing an expansive multicultural market. Our management team reflects the tone and tenor of our multicultural audiences and our policies on gender equality and gender pay. More than 70% of our management are women and/or identify as being from a diverse background, including all four of our executive officers.
 
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Environmental
Our platform requires significant amounts of information to be stored across multiple servers and we anticipate those amounts to increase significantly as we grow. We are committed to ensuring that we incorporate environmental excellence in our business mindset. Energy use, recycling practices and resource conservation are a few of the factors we take into consideration in building our technological infrastructure, selecting IT partners, and utilizing key suppliers. In the first quarter of 2022, we will transition our server platform to HPE Greenlake, which is centered on environmentally-friendly operations and marketed as “Greenlake-as-a-service,” through which we promote its energy conservation principles. We opted for HPE GreenLake’s as-a-service model because it represents a shift towards supplier responsibility for the elimination of wasted infrastructure and processing capacity. Our needs are metered and monitored, providing insights that can lead to significant resource and energy efficiencies by avoiding overprovisioning and optimizing the IT refresh cycle. This enables us to bring existing equipment to the highest levels of utilization and to eliminate idling equipment that drains energy and resources, yielding both environmental and financial savings.
Our Growth Strategy
We have a multi-pronged growth strategy designed to continue to build upon the momentum we have generated so far in order to create opportunities. Our key growth strategies include our plans to:

Continue to expand our highly productive “on the ground” buy-side and sell-side sales teams throughout the United States, with a particular focus on markets where we believe our client base is underserved.

Utilize management’s experience to identify and close additional acquisition opportunities to accelerate expansion into new industry verticals, grow market share and enhance platform innovation capabilities.

Leveraging our end-to-end product offering as a differentiating factor to win new business and cross-sell to existing clients.

Aggressively grow the Colossus SSP advertising inventory, including both multicultural and general inventory. We aim to increase our omni-channel capabilities to focus on highest growth content formats such as OTT/CTV, audio (such as podcasts, etc.), in-app and others.

Continued innovation and development of our data management platform and proprietary ID Lake and collection of first-party data to inform decision-making and optimize client campaigns.

Invest in further optimization of our infrastructure and technology solutions to maximize revenue and operating efficiencies.
Recent Quarterly Revenue Performance
Because there is significant seasonality to our business, to provide additional information about our recent financial results of operations, we have included the information below for each of the last seven fiscal quarters about our unaudited historical revenue as well as the unaudited historical revenue for Orange142 prior to our acquisition. Orange142 had one significant agency that transitioned its customer’s business internally with the agency during the fourth quarter of 2020, which had an impact on the comparative quarterly revenue results. Revenue related to this customer represented $2.4 million, $1.6 million, $1.7 million, $0.4 million, $0.3 million, $0.3 million, and $0.1 million, for the three months ended March 31, 2020, June 30, 2020, September 30, 2020, December 31, 2020, March 31, 2021, June 30, 2021 and September 30, 2021, respectively. For more information about our financial condition and results of operations, please see the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.
 
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For the Three Months Ended
Revenue
March 31,
2020
June 30,
2020
September 30,
2020
December 31,
2020
March 31,
2021
June 30,
2021
September 30,
2021
DDH Historical
Buy-side advertising
$ 1,444,533 $ 1,471,761 $ 1,461,414 $ 5,278,457 $ 4,828,047 $ 9,113,305 $ 6,033,883
Sell-side advertising
$ 175,758 $ 537,832 $ 784,710 $ 1,323,054 $ 865,685 $ 2,068,588 $ 2,326,862
Orange142 Historical
$ 5,264,746 $ 6,272,039 $ 6,401,296
Other Recent Developments
USDM Redemption
On November 14, 2021, we entered into a Redemption Agreement with USDM pursuant to which we agreed to (i) effective upon the closing of the 2021 Credit Facility (as defined below), redeem USDM’s 3,500 Class A Preferred Units of DDH LLC for a total purchase price of approximately $3.56 million and (ii) effective upon the consummation of this offering, redeem USDM’s 7,046 Class B Preferred Units for a total purchase price of $7.05 million plus an estimated $0.1 million in preferred return distribution deficits in respect of the Class B Preferred Units and redeem USDM’s 5,637 LLC Units in exchange for a total purchase price of $7.0 million. After such redemptions, USDM will no longer own any equity or other interests in us or DDH LLC.
Lafayette Square Refinancing
On December 3, 2021, DDH LLC entered into a Term Loan and Security Agreement (the “2021 Credit Facility”) with Lafayette Square Loan Servicing, LLC (“Lafayette Square”), as administrative agent, and the various lenders thereto. The 2021 Credit Facility provides for a term loan in the principal amount of up to $32.0 million, consisting of a $22.0 million closing date term loan and an up to $10.0 million delayed draw term loan. The loans under the 2021 Credit Facility bear interest at LIBOR plus the applicable margin minus any applicable impact discount. The applicable margin under the 2021 Credit Facility is determined based on the consolidated total net leverage ratio of the Company and its consolidated subsidiaries, at a rate of 6.50% per annum if the consolidated total net leverage ratio is less than 2.00 to 1.00 and up to 9.00% per annum if the consolidated total net leverage ratio is greater than 4.00 to 1.00. The applicable impact discount under the 2021 Credit Facility is a discount of 0.05% per annum to the extent that DDH LLC adopts certain services intended to improve overall employee satisfaction and retention plus an additional discount of 0.05% per annum to the extent that DDH LLC maintains a B Corp certification by Standards Analysts at the non-profit B Lab (or a successor certification or administrator). The maturity date of the 2021 Credit Facility is December 3, 2026.
The obligations under the 2021 Credit Facility are secured by senior, first-priority liens on all or substantially all assets of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries and are guaranteed by the subsidiaries of DDH LLC, and include a pledge and guarantee by the Company. The 2021 Credit Facility is subject to an intercreditor agreement pursuant to which the Revolving Credit Facility (as defined below) has a priority lien on the trade accounts receivable of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries that constitute eligible accounts under the Revolving Credit Facility and related proceeds, and the 2021 Credit Facility has a priority lien on all other collateral.
In connection with the entry into the 2021 Credit Facility, we paid off in full and terminated our prior term loan facility with Silverpeak Credit Partners, LP (see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources”). Additionally, proceeds of the 2021 Credit Facility were used to redeem all of USDM’s 3,500 Class A Preferred Units held in DDH LLC.
East West Bank Amendment
On December 17, 2021, DDH LLC entered into an amendment to the credit agreement dated September 30, 2020 by and among East West Bank, DDH LLC and each of its subsidiaries that provides for a revolving credit facility with commitments up to $4.5 million and initial availability of $1.0 million (the
 
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“Revolving Credit Facility”). The amendment increased the availability under the Revolving Credit Facility from $1.0 million to up to $2.5 million and increased the commitments under the Revolving Credit Facility from $4.5 million to $5.0 million. Additionally, the amendment provides for certain technical amendments to permit the transactions contemplated by the initial public offering, as well as amendments to certain of the financial definitions and financial covenants in order to take into account the loans and transactions contemplated by the 2021 Credit Facility. The amendment also provides for customary LIBOR transition provisions to be incorporated into the Revolving Credit Facility.
Year End Results
We are in the process of finalizing our results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2021. Based on currently available information, we estimate that for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, revenue is expected to be between $12.3 million and $13.3 million, and for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, revenue is expected to be between $37.6 million and $38.6 million. For the quarter ended December 31, 2021, gross profit is expected to be between $4.8 million and $5.2 million, and for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, gross profit is expected to be between $18.2 million and $18.6 million. For the quarter ended December 31, 2021, income from operations is expected to be between $1.0 million and $1.6 million, and for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, income from operations is expected to be between $4.0 million and $4.6 million. Intangible amortization expenses included in our operating expenses is expected to be approximately $0.5 million and $2.0 million for the quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, respectively.
Our consolidated financial statements for the three months and year ended December 31, 2021 are not yet available. These estimates are based on information currently available to management. Our actual results are not expected to vary materially from the estimated preliminary results included herein. The estimates included in this prospectus have been prepared by, and are the responsibility of management, and our independent registered public accounting firm has not audited, reviewed, compiled, or performed any procedures with respect to the estimates and does not express an opinion or any other form of assurances with respect thereto.
Summary Risk Factors
An investment in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks summarized below. These risks are discussed more fully in the “Risk Factors” section following this Prospectus Summary. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following:

our revenue and operating results are highly dependent on the overall demand for advertising that could be influenced by economic downturns;

the market for programmatic advertising campaigns is relatively new and evolving, so if this market develops slower or differently than we expect, our business, growth prospects and results of operations 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;

operational and performance 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, operating results and financial condition;

a significant inadvertent disclosure or breach of confidential and/or personal information we hold, or of the security of our or our customers’, suppliers’ or other partners’ computer systems could be detrimental to our business, reputation and results of operations;

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, operating results and financial condition could be harmed;
 
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unfavorable publicity and negative public perception about our industry, particularly 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 adversely affect our business and operating results;

if the use of third-party “cookies,” mobile device IDs or other tracking technologies is restricted without similar or better alternatives, our platform’s effectiveness could be diminished and our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected;

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

high customer concentration exposes us to all of the risks faced by our major customers and may subject us to significant fluctuations or declines in revenues;

we have a limited operating history and, as a result, our past results may not be indicative of future operating performance;

our business is subject to numerous legal and regulatory requirements and any violation of these requirements or any misconduct by our employees, subcontractors, agents or business partners could harm our business and reputation;

we will be a holding company following the completion of this offering. Our principal asset after the completion of this offering will be our interest in DDH LLC, and, accordingly, we will depend on distributions from DDH LLC to pay our taxes, expenses (including payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement) and dividends. DDH LLC’s ability to make such distributions may be subject to various limitations and restrictions;

DDH LLC may make distributions of cash to us substantially in excess of the amounts we use to make distributions to our stockholders and pay our expenses (including our taxes and payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement). To the extent we do not distribute such excess cash as dividends on our Class A common stock, the Continuing LLC Owners would benefit from any value attributable to such cash as a result of their ownership of Class A common stock upon an exchange or redemption of their LLC Units; and

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.
Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company
As a company with less than $1.07 billion in revenue during our last fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”), under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). An emerging growth company may take advantage of specified reduced reporting and other requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include:

a requirement to have only two years of audited financial statements and only two years of related management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations disclosure;

reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation under Item 402 of Regulation S-K;

no requirement for non-binding advisory votes on executive compensation or golden parachute arrangements; and

an exemption from the auditor attestation requirement in the assessment of internal control over financial reporting pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
We may take advantage of these provisions until the end of the fiscal year in which the fifth anniversary of this offering occurs, or such earlier time that we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company. In future years, we will cease to be an emerging growth company if we have $1.07 billion in annual revenue or more, become a “large accelerated filer” as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), or issue more than $1.0 billion of non-convertible debt securities over a
 
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three-year period. We may choose to take advantage of some but not all of these reduced requirements. Even after we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, we may still qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” which would allow us to take advantage of many of the same exemptions from disclosure requirements discussed above.
We have elected to take advantage of some of the reduced disclosure obligations regarding financial statements and executive compensation in this prospectus and may elect to take advantage of other reduced requirements in future filings. As a result, the information we provide to our stockholders may be different from what you might receive from other public reporting companies in which you hold equity interests.
The JOBS Act permits an emerging growth company, like us, to take advantage of an extended transition period to comply with new or revised accounting standards applicable to public companies. We are choosing to take advantage of this provision and, as a result, we will not be required to comply with new or revised accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies.
Summary of the Organizational Transactions
Direct Digital Holdings was incorporated as a Delaware corporation on August 23, 2021 and is the issuer of the Class A common stock being offered in this offering. This offering is being conducted through what is commonly referred to as an “Up-C” structure, which is often used by partnerships and limited liability companies when they decide to undertake an initial public offering. To implement the Up-C structure, we will effect certain organizational changes (the “Organizational Transactions”). Unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise requires, all information in this prospectus reflects the completion of these Organizational Transactions.
The key terms of the Up-C structure are:

the Up-C structure will allow the Continuing LLC Owners to retain their equity ownership in DDH LLC and to continue to realize tax benefits associated with owning interests in an entity that is treated as a partnership, or “passthrough” entity, for U.S. federal income tax purposes following the completion of the offering;

investors in this offering will, by contrast, hold their equity ownership in Direct Digital Holdings, a Delaware corporation that is a domestic corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in the form of shares of Class A common stock;

USDM will have all of its LLC Units purchased by DDH LLC with a portion of the proceeds from this offering, as discussed in the section titled “Use of Proceeds” and will cease having any interest in DDH LLC or us; and

the Continuing LLC Owners will hold LLC Units and will also hold noneconomic voting equity interests in the form of Class B common stock in Direct Digital Holdings. One of the tax benefits to the Continuing LLC Owners associated with this structure is that future taxable income of DDH LLC that is allocated to the Continuing LLC Owners will be taxed on a pass-through basis and therefore will not be subject to corporate taxes at the entity level. Additionally, the Continuing LLC Owners may, from time to time, redeem or exchange their LLC Units for shares of our Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis. The Up-C structure also provides the Continuing LLC Owners with potential liquidity that holders of non-publicly traded limited liability companies are not typically afforded. If we ever generate sufficient taxable income to utilize the tax benefits, Digital Direct Holdings expects to benefit from the Up-C structure because, in general, we expect cash tax savings in amounts equal to 15% of certain tax benefits arising from such redemptions or exchanges of the Continuing Owners’ LLC Units for Class A common stock or cash and certain other tax benefits covered by the Tax Receivable Agreement discussed in the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement.” See the section titled “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure.”
In connection with the closing of this offering, we will consummate the following transactions:

we will amend and restate the limited liability company agreement of DDH LLC, or the DDH LLC Agreement, to, among other things, appoint Direct Digital Holdings as the sole managing member
 
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of DDH LLC and effectuate a recapitalization of all outstanding preferred and common units of DDH LLC into a single class of economic nonvoting common units of DDH LLC. We will otherwise operate as a holding company. Direct Digital Holdings will include DDH LLC in its consolidated financial statements;

we will amend and restate Direct Digital Holdings’ certificate of incorporation to, among other things, provide for Class A common stock, each share of which entitles its holders to one vote per share, and Class B common stock, each share of which entitles its holders to one vote per share on all matters presented to Direct Digital Holdings’ stockholders;

we will cause DDH LLC to purchase all of the LLC Units held by USDM for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $14.0 million;

the Continuing LLC Owners will continue to own the LLC Units they receive in exchange for their outstanding units in DDH LLC, representing approximately 74.0% of the economic interest in the business of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries (or approximately 71.2%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock) and we will issue shares of Class B common stock to the Continuing LLC Owners, on a one-to-one basis with the number of LLC Units each Continuing LLC Owner owns upon the consummation of the Organizational Transactions, for nominal consideration;

the LLC Units, following the completion of this offering, will be redeemable, at the Continuing LLC Owners’ election from time to time, for newly issued shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis (subject to customary adjustments, including for stock splits, stock dividends and reclassifications) in accordance with the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement; provided that, at Direct Digital Holdings’ election, Direct Digital Holdings may effect a direct exchange of such Class A common stock. Shares of Class B common stock will be cancelled on a one-for-one basis if we, at the election of the Continuing LLC Owners that hold Class B common stock, redeem or exchange such holders’ LLC Units pursuant to the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement;

Direct Digital Holdings will enter into the Tax Receivable Agreement with the Continuing LLC Owners and DDH LLC;

Direct Digital Holdings will issue 4,000,000 shares of Class A common stock to the purchasers in this offering (or 4,600,000 shares of our Class A common stock if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock);

Direct Digital Holdings will use all of the net proceeds from this offering (including any net proceeds received upon exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock) to acquire newly issued LLC Units from DDH LLC at a purchase price per unit equal to the initial public offering price per share of Class A common stock, less underwriting discounts and commissions, collectively representing 26.0% of DDH LLC’s outstanding LLC Units (or 28.8%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock); and

DDH LLC will use the proceeds from the sale of LLC Units to Direct Digital Holdings as described in the section titled “Use of Proceeds,” including to purchase all LLC Units held by USDM for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $14.0 million.
Upon the completion of this offering, the purchasers in this offering (i) will own 4,000,000 shares of Class A common stock, representing approximately 26.0% of the combined voting power of all of Direct Digital Holdings’ common stock (or 4,600,000 shares of Class A common stock representing approximately 28.8%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock), (ii) will own 26.0% of the economic interest in Direct Digital Holdings (or 28.8%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock) and (iii) through Direct Digital Holdings’ ownership of LLC Units, indirectly will hold (applying the percentages in the preceding clause (ii) to Direct Digital Holdings’ percentage economic interest in DDH LLC) approximately 26.0% of the economic interest in DDH LLC (or 28.8% if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock).
 
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We refer to the foregoing Organizational Transactions collectively as the “Organizational Transactions.” For more information regarding our structure after the completion of the Organizational Transactions, including this offering, see the section titled “Organizational Transactions.” Immediately following the completion of this offering, Direct Digital Holdings will be a holding company and its principal asset will be the LLC Units we purchase from DDH LLC. As the sole managing member of DDH LLC, Direct Digital Holdings will operate and control all of the business and affairs of DDH LLC and, through DDH LLC and its subsidiaries, conduct our business. Accordingly, Direct Digital Holdings will have the sole voting interest in, and control the management of, DDH LLC. As a result, we will consolidate DDH LLC in our consolidated financial statements and will report a non-controlling interest related to the LLC Units held by the Continuing LLC Owners on our consolidated financial statements.
See the section titled “Description of Capital Stock” for more information about our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the terms of the Class A common stock and the Class B common stock. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions” for more information about (i) the DDH LLC Agreement, including the terms of the LLC Units and the redemption right of the Continuing LLC Owners; and (ii) the Tax Receivable Agreement. See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources — Tax Receivable Agreement” for more information about expected payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement.
The diagram below depicts our organizational structure after giving effect to the Organizational Transactions, including this offering, assuming no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock.
[MISSING IMAGE: tm2125950d10-fc_direct4c.jpg]
Our Capital Structure
Upon the completion of this offering, we will have two classes of common stock. Our Class A common stock, which is the stock we are offering by means of this prospectus, will have one vote per share and our Class B common stock will have one vote per share.
 
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Upon the completion of this offering, all shares of Class B common stock will be held by the Continuing LLC Owners. Accordingly, upon completion of this offering, assuming an offering size as set forth above and an initial public offering price of $8.00 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus), the shares beneficially owned by the Continuing LLC Owners will represent 74.0% of the total voting power of our outstanding capital stock. The Continuing LLC Owners will be able to determine or significantly influence any action requiring the approval of our stockholders, including the election of our board of directors, the adoption of amendments to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, and the approval of any merger, consolidation, sale of all or substantially all of our assets, or other major corporate transaction.
The multi-class structure of our common stock is intended to ensure that, for the foreseeable future, the Continuing LLC Owners continue to control or significantly influence our governance which we believe will permit us to continue to prioritize our long-term goals rather than short-term results, to enhance the likelihood of stability in the composition of our board of directors and its policies, and to discourage certain types of transactions that may involve an actual or threatened acquisition of us.
Company and Other Information
Our principal executive office is located at 1233 West Loop South, Suite 1170, Houston, Texas 77027. Our telephone number is (832) 402-1051. Our main internet address is www.directdigitalholdings.com. We do not incorporate the information on or accessible through our website into this prospectus, and you should not consider any information on, or that can be accessed through, our website as a part of this prospectus.
 
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THE OFFERING
Issuer
Direct Digital Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation
Class A Common stock offered by us
4,000,000 shares
Underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock from us
600,000 shares
Total Class A common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering
4,000,000 shares (4,600,000 shares if the option to purchase additional shares from us is exercised in full)(1)
Total Class B common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering(1)
11,378,000 shares, all of which will be owned by the Continuing LLC Owners.
Use of proceeds
We estimate that our net proceeds from this offering will be approximately $27.0 million (or $31.5 million if the underwriters exercise the over-allotment option in full), based on an assumed initial public offering price of $8.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering to purchase 4,000,000 newly issued LLC Units (or 4,600,000 LLC Units if the underwriters exercise the over-allotment option in full) directly from DDH LLC at a purchase price per unit equal to the initial public offering price per share of Class A common stock, less underwriting discounts and commissions. We intend to cause DDH LLC to use approximately $14.0 million of such proceeds to purchase all of the LLC Units held by USDM and the remainder for working capital and general corporate purposes, including potential future acquisition of, or investment in, technologies or businesses that complement our business. See “Use of Proceeds” for additional information.
Voting Rights
Holders of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock will vote together as a single class on all matters presented to stockholders for their vote or approval, except as otherwise required by law. Each share of Class A common stock and each share of Class B common stock will entitle its holder to one vote per share on all such matters. See the section titled “Description of Capital Stock” for additional information.
Voting power held by purchasers in this offering
26.0% (or 28.8% if the option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock from us is exercised in full)
Voting power held by all holders of Class A common stock after giving effect to this offering
26.0% (or 28.8% if the option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock from us is exercised in full)
Voting power held by all holders of Class B common stock after giving effect to this offering
74.0% (or 71.2% if the option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock from us is exercised in full)
 
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Class B common stock exchange rights
The Continuing LLC Owners of DDH LLC, from time to time following the completion of this offering, may exchange their LLC Units for shares of Class A common stock on a one-to-one basis, and a corresponding number of such shares of Class B common stock will be cancelled; provided that, at Direct Digital Holdings’ election, Direct Digital Holdings may effect a direct exchange of such Class A common stock. See “Organizational Transactions” for more information.
Lock-up
We, all of our directors, officers and the Continuous LLC Owners have agreed with the underwriters, subject to certain exceptions, not to sell, transfer or dispose of, directly or indirectly, any of our Class A common stock or securities convertible into or exercisable or exchangeable for our Class A common stock for a period of 180 days after the date of the final closing of this offering. See “Shares Eligible for Future Sale” and “Underwriting” for more information.
Representatives’ Warrants
We have agreed to issue to the representatives a warrant to purchase a number of shares of common stock equal to 5% of the total number of shares issued in this offering. The representatives’ warrant will be exercisable at a per share exercise price equal to 120% of the public offering price per share of common stock sold in this offering. The representatives’ warrant is exercisable at any time and from time to time, in whole or in part, during the four-and-a-half-year period commencing six months after the effective date of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part. The registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part also registers the issuance of the shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of the representatives’ warrant. See “Underwriting” for more information.
Risk factors
See “Risk Factors” to read about factors you should consider before buying shares of our Class A common stock.
Proposed trading symbol
“DRCT”
(1)
The number of shares of our Class A common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering is based on the units of DDH LLC outstanding as of September 30, 2021, and excludes the following:

11,378,000 shares of Class A common stock reserved as of the closing date of this offering for future issuance upon redemption or exchange of LLC Units by the Continuing LLC Owners;

1,500,000 shares of Class A common stock reserved for issuance under our 2022 Omnibus Incentive Plan; and

up to 230,000 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of the representatives’ warrants issued in connection with this offering.
 
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Summary Consolidated Historical and Unaudited Pro Forma Consolidated Financial Information
The following tables present the summary consolidated historical and unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information for DDH LLC and its subsidiaries and Orange142, in each case, for the periods and at the dates indicated. DDH LLC is the predecessor of the issuer, Direct Digital Holdings, for financial reporting purposes. The summary consolidated statements of operations and information for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 and the summary consolidated balance sheet information as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 have been derived from the audited consolidated financial statements and notes of each of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries and Orange142 included elsewhere in this prospectus and the summary consolidated statements of operations and information for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020 and the summary consolidated balance sheet information as of September 30, 2021 have been derived from the unaudited consolidated financial statements and notes of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries and Orange142 included elsewhere in this prospectus. You should read this information together with our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes and unaudited consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus and the information in the sections titled “Capitalization,” “Unaudited Pro Forma Consolidated Financial Information” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of our future results and results of interim periods are not necessarily indicative of results for the entire year.
The summary unaudited pro forma and unaudited pro forma as adjusted consolidated financial information of DDH LLC presented below has been derived from our unaudited pro forma consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The summary unaudited pro forma balance sheet information as of September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020 gives effect to the Organizational Transactions as described in the section titled “Organizational Transactions” as if all such transactions had occurred on that date. The summary unaudited pro forma and unaudited pro forma as adjusted consolidated statement of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020 and the year ended December 31, 2020 gives effect to DDH’s acquisition of Orange142 as if this transaction had occurred on January 1, 2020. The unaudited pro forma and unaudited pro forma as adjusted consolidated financial information includes various estimates which are subject to material change and may not be indicative of what our operations or financial position would have been had such transaction taken place on the dates indicated, or that may be expected to occur in the future. See the section titled “Unaudited Pro Forma Consolidated Financial Information” for a complete description of the adjustments and assumptions underlying the summary unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information.
The summary consolidated historical information of Direct Digital Holdings has not been presented as Direct Digital Holdings is a newly incorporated entity, has had no business transactions or activities to date and had no assets or liabilities during the periods presented in this section.
 
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Year Ended
December 31, 2020
For the Nine Months Ended
September 30, 2020
For the Nine Months Ended
September 30, 2021
As Reported
Pro forma
for the
acquisition of
Orange142,
LLC
(unaudited)
As Reported
(unaudited)
Pro forma
for the
acquisition of
Orange142,
LLC
(unaudited)
As Reported
(unaudited)
Pro forma,
as adjusted
for the
Organizational
Transactions
(unaudited)
Revenues 
Buy-side advertising
$ 9,656,165 $ 27,594,246 $ 4,377,708 $ 22,315,789 $ 19,975,235 $ 19,975,235
Sell-side advertising
2,821,354 2,821,354 1,498,300 1,498,300 5,261,135 5,261,135
Total revenues
12,477,519 30,415,600 5,876,008 23,814,089 25,236,370 25,236,370
Cost of revenues
Buy-side advertising
4,864,234 10,131,697 2,836,035 8,103,498 7,480,727 7,480,727
Sell-side advertising
2,440,975 2,440,975 1,350,083 1,350,083 4,348,756 4,348,756
Total cost of revenues
7,305,209 12,572,672 4,186,118 9,453,581 11,829,483 11,829,483
Gross profit
5,172,310 17,842,928 1,689,890 14,360,508 13,406,887 13,406,887
Operating expenses
Compensation, taxes and
benefits
3,334,060 7,095,086 1,324,196 5,085,222 6,131,930 6,131,930
General and administrative
1,848,407 4,791,311 600,543 3,543,447 4,214,229 4,214,229
Total operating expenses
6,016,874 11,886,397 2,574,739 8,628,669 10,346,159 10,346,159
(Loss) income from operations
(844,564) 5,956,531 (884,849) 5,731,839 3,060,728 3,060,728
Other (expense) income
Other income
134,776 146,676 134,761 146,661 19,186 19,186
Forgiveness of Paycheck Protection
Program loan
277,100 277,100 10,000 10,000
Gain from revaluation and settlement of seller notes and earnout liability
401,677 401,677 401,677 401,677 21,232 21,232
Loss on redemption of preferred units
(590,689)
Interest expense
(865,055) (2,937,006) (19,925) (2,229,103) (2,432,567) (2,432,567)
Total other (expense) income
(51,502) (2,111,553) 516,513 (1,680,765) (2,382,149) (2,972,838)
Tax expense
(12,124) (61,095) (12,154) (61,125) (54,878) (54,878)
Net income (loss)
$ (908,190) $ 3,783,883 $ (380,490) $ 3,989,949 $ 623,701 $ 33,012
Net income (loss) per common unit/Class A common stock:
Basic and diluted
$ (30.32) $ 110.70 $ (13.32) $ 121.74 $ 18.25 $ nm
Weighted-average common units/Class A common stock outstanding:
Basic and diluted 
29,954 34,182 28,566 32,773 34,182 15,378,000
 
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As of
September 30, 2021
December 31,
2020
(audited)
Actual
(unaudited)
Pro Forma
for the
Organizational
Transactions
(unaudited)
ASSETS
CURRENT ASSETS
Cash and cash equivalents
$ 1,611,998 $ 2,603,152 $ 15,589,432
Accounts receivable, net
4,679,376 3,903,809 3,903,809
Prepaid expenses and other current assets
223,344 727,075 727,075
Total current assets
6,514,718 7,234,036 20,220,316
Goodwill
6,519,636 6,519,636 6,519,636
Intangible assets, net
17,545,396 16,080,032 16,080,032
Deferred financing costs, net
90,607 51,775 51,775
Other long-term assets
25,118 12,948 12,948
Total assets
$ 30,695,475 $ 29,898,427 $ 42,884,707
LIABILITIES AND MEMBERS’ EQUITY/STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
CURRENT LIABILITIES
Accounts payable
$ 3,263,326 $ 3,110,281 $ 3,110,281
Accrued liabilities
1,392,520 1,510,563 1,510,563
Notes payable, current portion
1,206,750 2,611,685 2,611,685
Deferred revenues
308,682 684,303 684,303
Related party payables
70,801 69,837 69,837
Seller notes payable
315,509
Seller earnout payable
74,909
Total current liabilities
6,632,497 7,986,669 7,986,669
Notes payable, net of short-term portion and
$501,796 and $286,741 of deferred financing, respectively, cost as of December 31, 2020 and September 30, 2021
11,213,697 9,086,328 9,086,328
Mandatorily redeemable non-participating
preferred units
9,913,940 9,913,940 3,458,378
Line of credit
407,051 407,051 407,051
Paycheck Protection Program loan
10,000 287,143 287,143
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
150,000 150,000 150,000
Total liabilities
28,327,185 27,831,131 21,375,569
MEMBERS’/STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Units, 1,000,000 units authorized as of December 31, 2020 and
September 30, 2021; 34,182 units issued and outstanding as
of December 31, 2020 and September 30, 2021
4,294,241 4,294,241
Accumulated deficit
(1,925,951) (2,226,945) (2,817,634)
 
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As of
September 30, 2021
December 31,
2020
(audited)
Actual
(unaudited)
Pro Forma
for the
Organizational
Transactions
(unaudited)
Class A common stock, $0.001 par value per share; no shares authorized, issued or outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and September 30, 2021, actual; 160,000,000 shares authorized, 4,000,000 shares issued and outstanding as of September 30, 2021, pro forma
4,000
Class B common stock, $0.001 par value per share; no shares authorized, issued or outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and September 30, 2021, actual; 20,000,000 shares authorized, 11,378,000 shares issued and outstanding as of September 30, 2021, pro forma
11,378
Additional paid-in capital
24,311,394
Total members’/stockholders’ equity
2,368,290 2,067,296 21,509,138
Total liabilities and members’/stockholders’ equity
$ 30,695,475 $ 29,898,427 $ 42,884,707
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
In addition to our results determined in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), including, in particular operating income, net cash provided by operating activities, and net income, we believe that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”), as adjusted for acquisition transaction costs, forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program loans and gain from revaluation and settlement of seller notes and earnout liability (“Adjusted EBITDA”), a non-GAAP measure, is useful in evaluating our operating performance. The most directly comparable GAAP measure to Adjusted EBITDA is net income.
The following table presents a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income for each of the periods presented:
For the Nine Months Ended
September 30,
For the Year Ended
December 31,
2021
2020
2020
2019
Net income (loss)
$ 623,701 $ (380,490) $ (908,190) $ (883,768)
Add back (deduct):
Amortization of intangible assets
1,465,364 488,454
Acquisition transaction costs
650,000 834,407
Interest expense
2,432,567 19,925 865,055 57,105
Tax expense
54,878 12,154 12,124 39,137
Forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program loan
(10,000) (277,100)
Gain from revaluation and settlement of seller notes and earnout liability
(21,232) (401,677) (401,677) (79,091)
Adjusted EBITDA
$ 4,545,278 $ (100,088) $ 613,073 $ (866,617)
In addition to operating income and net income, we use Adjusted EBITDA as a measure of operational efficiency. We believe that this non-GAAP financial measure is useful to investors for period-to-period comparisons of our business and in understanding and evaluating our operating results for the following reasons:

Adjusted EBITDA is widely used by investors and securities analysts to measure a company’s operating performance without regard to items such as depreciation and amortization, interest
 
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expense, provision for income taxes, and certain one-time items such as acquisition transaction costs and gains from settlements or loan forgiveness that can vary substantially from company to company depending upon their financing, capital structures and the method by which assets were acquired;

Our management uses Adjusted EBITDA in conjunction with GAAP financial measures for planning purposes, including the preparation of our annual operating budget, as a measure of operating performance and the effectiveness of our business strategies and in communications with our board of directors concerning our financial performance; and

Adjusted EBITDA provides consistency and comparability with our past financial performance, facilitates period-to-period comparisons of operations, and also facilitates comparisons with other peer companies, many of which use similar non-GAAP financial measures to supplement their GAAP results.
Our use of this non-GAAP financial measure has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our financial results as reported under GAAP.
 
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RISK FACTORS
Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the following risk factors, together with the other information contained in this prospectus, including the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our financial statements and related notes, before purchasing our Class A common stock. Our business, results of operations, financial condition or prospects could also be harmed by risks and uncertainties that are not presently known to us or that we currently believe are not material. We have listed below (not necessarily in order of importance or probability of occurrence) what we believe to be the most significant risk factors applicable to us, but they do not constitute all of the risks that may be applicable to us. If any of the risks actually occur, our business, results of operations, financial condition 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 all or part of your investment. Some statements in this prospectus, including statements in the following risk factors, constitute forward-looking statements. Please refer to the section titled “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”
Risks Related to our Business
We rely on highly skilled personnel and if we are unable to attract, retain or motivate substantial numbers of qualified personnel or expand and train our sales force, we may not be able to grow effectively.
We rely on highly skilled personnel and if we are unable to attract, retain or motivate substantial numbers of qualified personnel or expand and train our sales force, we may not be able to grow effectively. Our success largely depends on the talents and efforts of key technical, sales and marketing employees and our future success depends on our continuing ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate and retain highly skilled personnel for all areas of our organization. Competition in our industry is intense and often leads to increased compensation and other personnel costs. In addition, competition for employees with experience in our industry can be intense where our development operations are concentrated and where other technology companies compete for management and engineering talent. Our continued ability to compete and grow effectively depends on our ability to attract substantial numbers of qualified new employees and to retain and motivate our existing employees.
The digital advertising industry is intensely competitive, and if we do not effectively compete against current and future competitors, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be harmed.
We operate in a highly competitive and rapidly changing industry that is subject to changing technology and customer demands and that includes many companies providing competing solutions. With the introduction of new technologies and the influx of new entrants into the market, 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 offer multiple new products and services aimed at capturing advertising spend.
We compete with smaller, privately-held companies and with public companies such as The Trade Desk, Pubmatic, Magnite, and Acuity Ads. Our current and potential competitors may have significantly more financial, technical, marketing and other resources than we have, allowing them to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, sale and support of their products and services. They may also have more extensive customer bases and broader supplier relationships than we have. As a result, these competitors may be better able to respond quickly to new technologies, develop deeper marketer relationships or offer services at lower prices. Increased competition may result in reduced pricing for our platform, increased sales and marketing expense, longer sales cycles or a decrease of our market share, any of which could negatively affect our revenue and future operating results and our ability to grow our business. These companies may also have greater brand recognition than we have, actively seek to serve our market, and have the power to significantly change the nature of the marketplace to their advantage. Some of our larger competitors have substantially broader product offerings and may leverage their relationships based on other products or incorporate functionality into existing products to gain business in a manner that may discourage customers from using our platform, including through selling at zero or negative margins or product bundling with other services they provide at reduced prices. Customers may prefer to purchase
 
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advertising on their own or through another platform without leveraging our buy-side business. Potential customers may also prefer to leverage larger sell-side platforms rather than a new platform regardless of product performance or features. These larger competitors often have broader product lines and market focus and may therefore not be as susceptible to downturns in a particular market. We may also experience negative market perception as a result of being a smaller company than our larger competitors.
We may also face competition from 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 marketing products or services, 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.
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 may 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. Accordingly, we may need to engage in additional equity or debt financings to secure additional capital. 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 Class A common stock. 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 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 effects of health pandemics, 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 pandemics, 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 some parts of our business, 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 for 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 business, results of operations, and financial condition 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 were previously, and may again be, 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, results of operations and financial condition.
Our customers or potential customers, particularly in industries most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the retail, restaurant, hotel, hospitality, consumer discretionary, airline, and oil and gas
 
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industries and companies whose customers operate in impacted industries, may reduce their technology or sales and marketing spending or delay their sales transformation initiatives, which could materially and adversely impact our business.
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.
High customer concentration exposes us to various risks faced by our major customers and may subject us to significant fluctuations or declines in revenues.
A limited number of our major customers have contributed a significant portion to our revenues in the past. Our revenue from the top two largest customers accounted for approximately 25% and 41% of our total revenues in the fiscal years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and approximately 33% and 51% of our total revenues in the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Our revenue from our top ten largest customers accounted for approximately 59% and 75% of our total revenues in the fiscal years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and approximately 69% and 92% of our total revenues in the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Although we continually seek to diversify our customer base, we cannot assure you that the proportion of the revenue contribution from these customers to our total revenues will decrease in the near future. Dependence on a limited number of major customers will expose us to the risks of substantial losses and may increase our accounts receivable and extend its turn-over days if any of them reduces or even ceases business with us. Specifically, any one of the following events, among others, may cause material fluctuations or declines in our revenues and have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects:

an overall decline in the business of one or more of our significant customers;

the decision by one or more of our significant customers to switch to our competitors;

the reduction in the prices for our services agreed by one or more of our significant customers; or

the failure or inability of any of our significant customers to make timely payment for our services.
Operational and performance 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, operating results and financial condition.
We depend upon the sustained and uninterrupted performance of our platform to manage our advertising inventory supply; acquire advertising inventory for each campaign; collect, process and interpret data; and 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.
Our platform is complex and multifaceted. Operational and performance issues could arise from the platform itself or from outside factors, such as cyberattacks or other third-party attacks. Errors, failures, vulnerabilities or 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. It 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 facilities. While we have built redundancies in our systems, full redundancies do not exist. Some failures will shut our platform down completely, others only partially. We provide service-level agreements
 
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to some of our customers, and if our platform is not available for specified amounts of time or if there are failures in the interaction between our platform, partner platform and third-party technologies, we may be required to provide credits or other financial compensation to our customers.
As we grow our business, we expect to continue to invest in technology services and equipment. 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 customers. 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 grow. 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.
Operational and performance issues with our platform could also result in negative publicity, damage to our brand and reputation, 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 or claims by customers for losses sustained by them. 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 operating results and financial condition.
A significant inadvertent disclosure or breach of confidential and/or personal information we hold, or of the security of our or our customers’, suppliers’ or other partners’ computer systems, could be detrimental to our business, reputation and results of operations.
Portions of our business require the storage, transmission and utilization of data, including access to personal information, much of which must be maintained on a confidential basis. These activities may in the future make us a target of cyber-attacks by third parties seeking unauthorized access to the data we maintain and to which we provide access, including our customer data, or to disrupt our ability to provide service through the Colossus SSP. Based on the types and volume of personal data on our systems, we believe that we are a particularly attractive target for such breaches and attacks.
In recent years, the frequency, severity and sophistication of cyber-attacks, computer malware, viruses, social engineering, and other intentional misconduct by computer hackers has significantly increased, and government agencies and security experts have warned about the growing risks of hackers, cyber criminals and other potential attackers targeting information technology systems. Such third parties could attempt to gain entry to our systems for the purpose of stealing data or disrupting the systems. In addition, our security measures may also be breached due to employee error, malfeasance, system errors or vulnerabilities, including vulnerabilities of our vendors, suppliers, their products or otherwise. Third parties may also attempt to fraudulently induce employees or customers into disclosing sensitive information such as user names, passwords or other information to gain access to our customers’ data or our data, including intellectual property and other confidential business information.
We currently serve the majority of Colossus SSP functions from third-party data center hosting facilities. While we and our third-party cloud providers have implemented security measures designed to protect against security breaches, these measures could fail or may be insufficient, particularly as techniques used to sabotage or obtain unauthorized access to systems change frequently and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, resulting in the unauthorized disclosure, modification, misuse, destruction or loss of our or our customers’ data or other sensitive information. Any failure to prevent or mitigate security breaches and improper access to or disclosure of the data we maintain, including personal information, could result in litigation, indemnity obligations, regulatory enforcement actions, investigations, fines, penalties, mitigation and remediation costs, disputes, reputational harm, diversion of management’s attention, and other liabilities and damage to our business.
We believe we have taken appropriate measures to protect our systems from intrusion, but we cannot be certain that advances in criminal capabilities, discovery of new vulnerabilities in our systems and attempts to exploit those vulnerabilities, physical system or facility break-ins and data thefts or other developments will not compromise or breach the technology protecting our systems and the information we possess.
 
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We may incur significant costs in protecting against or remediating cyber-attacks. Any security breach could result in operational disruptions that impair our ability to meet our customers’ requirements, which could result in decreased revenue. Also, whether there is an actual or a perceived breach of our security, our reputation could suffer irreparable harm, causing our current and prospective customers to reject our products and services in the future, deterring data suppliers from supplying us data or customers from uploading their data on our platform, or changing consumer behaviors and use of our technology. Further, we could be forced to expend significant resources in response to a security breach, including those expended in notifying individuals and providing mitigating services, repairing system damage, increasing cyber security protection costs by deploying additional personnel and protection technologies, and litigating and resolving legal claims or governmental inquiries and investigations, all of which could divert the attention of our management and key personnel away from our business operations. Federal, state and foreign governments continue to consider and implement laws and regulations addressing data privacy, cybersecurity, and data protection laws, which include provisions relating to breaches. For example, statutory damages may be available to users through a private right of action for certain data breaches under the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), and potentially other states’ laws. In any event, a significant security breach could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.
Our customers, suppliers and other partners are primarily responsible for the security of their information technology environments, and we rely heavily on them and other third parties to supply clean data content and/or to utilize our products and services in a secure manner. Each of these third parties may face risks relating to cyber security, which could disrupt their businesses and therefore materially impact ours. While we provide guidance and specific requirements in some cases, we do not directly control any of such parties’ cyber security operations, or the amount of investment they place in guarding against cyber security threats. Accordingly, we are subject to any flaws in or breaches of their systems, which could materially impact our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our success and revenue growth are dependent on adding new customers, effectively educating and training our existing customers on how to make full use of our platform and increasing usage of our platform by our customers.
Our success is dependent on regularly adding new customers and increasing our customers’ usage of our platform. Our contracts and relationships with customers generally do not include long-term or exclusive obligations requiring them to use our platform or maintain or increase their use of our platform. Our customers typically have relationships with numerous providers and can use both our platform and those of our competitors without incurring significant costs or disruption. Our customers may also choose to decrease their overall advertising spend for any reason. Accordingly, we must continually work to win new customers and retain existing customers, increase their usage of our platform and capture a larger share of their advertising spend. We may not be successful at educating and training customers, particularly our newer customers, on how to use our platform, in particular our advanced reporting tools, in order for our customers to get the most benefit from our platform and increase their usage. If these efforts are unsuccessful or customers decide not to continue to maintain or increase their usage of our platform for any other reason, or if we fail to attract new customers, our revenue could fail to grow or decline, which would materially and adversely harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition. We cannot assure you that our customers will continue to use and increase their spend on our platform or that we will be able to attract a sufficient number of new customers to continue to grow our business and revenue. If customers representing a significant portion of our business decide to materially reduce their use of our platform or cease using our platform altogether, our revenue could be significantly reduced, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. We may not be able to replace customers who decrease or cease their usage of our platform with new customers that will use our platform to the same extent.
If we fail to detect advertising fraud, we could harm our reputation and hurt our ability to execute our business plan.
As our business expands to providing services to publishers, advertisers and agencies, we must deliver effective digital advertising campaigns. Some of those campaigns may experience fraudulent and other invalid impressions, clicks or conversions that advertisers may perceive as undesirable, such as non-human
 
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traffic generated by computers designed to simulate human users and artificially inflate user traffic on websites. These activities could overstate the performance of any given digital advertising campaign and could harm our reputation. It may be difficult for us to detect fraudulent or malicious activity because we do not own content and rely in part on our digital media properties to control such activity. Industry self-regulatory bodies, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and certain influential members of Congress have increased their scrutiny and awareness of, and have taken recent actions to address, advertising fraud and other malicious activity. If we fail to detect or prevent fraudulent or other malicious activity, the affected advertisers may experience or perceive a reduced return on their investment and our reputation may be harmed. High levels of fraudulent or malicious activity could lead to dissatisfaction with our solutions, refusals to pay, refund or future credit demands or withdrawal of future business, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects or results of operations.
The market growth forecasts included in this prospectus may prove to be inaccurate and, even if the market in which we compete achieves forecasted growth, we cannot assure you our business will grow at similar rates, if at all.
Market growth forecasts are subject to significant uncertainty and are based on assumptions and estimates that may not prove to be accurate. The forecasts in this prospectus relating to expected growth in the digital advertising and programmatic ad markets may prove to be inaccurate. Even if these markets experience the forecasted growth, we may not grow our business at similar rates, or at all. Our growth is subject to many factors including our success in implementing our business strategy, which is subject to many risks and uncertainties. The failure of either the market in which we operate or our business to grow as forecasted could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects or results of operations.
The market for programmatic advertising campaigns is relatively new and evolving. If this market develops slower or differently than we expect, our business, growth prospects and results of operations would be adversely affected.
The substantial majority of our revenue has been derived from customers that programmatically purchase or sell advertising inventory through our platform. We expect that spending on programmatic ad buying and selling 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 customers may not shift quickly enough to programmatic ad buying from other buying methods, reducing our growth potential. Because our industry is relatively new, we will encounter risks and difficulties frequently encountered by early-stage companies in similarly rapidly evolving industries, including the need to:

Maintain our reputation and build trust with advertisers and digital media property owners;

Offer competitive pricing to publishers, advertisers and digital media agencies;

Maintain quality and expand quantity of our advertising inventory;

Continue to develop, launch and upgrade the technologies that enable us to provide our solutions;

Respond to evolving government regulations relating to the internet, telecommunications, mobile, privacy, marketing and advertising aspects of our business;

Identify, attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel; and

Cost-effectively manage our operations.
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, revenue may not necessarily grow at the same rate as spend on our platform. Growth in spend may outpace growth in our revenue as the market for programmatic advertising matures due to a number of factors including quantity discounts and product, media, customer and channel mix shifts. A significant change in revenue as a percentage of spend could reflect an adverse change in our business and growth prospectus. In addition, any such fluctuations, even if they reflect our strategic decisions, could cause
 
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our performance to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, and adversely affect the price of our Class A common stock.
We often have long sales cycles, which can result in significant time between initial contact with a prospect and execution of a customer agreement, making it difficult to project when, if at all, we will obtain new customers and when we will generate revenue from those customers.
Our sales cycle, from initial contact to contract execution and implementation, can take significant time. Our sell-side sales cycle often has a duration of six-to-12 months, while our buy-side business sales cycle often has a duration of three-to-nine months. As part of our sales cycle, we may incur significant expenses before we generate any revenue from a prospective customer. We have no assurance that the substantial time and money spent on our sales efforts will generate significant revenue. If conditions in the marketplace, generally or with a specific prospective customer, change negatively, it is possible that we will be unable to recover any of these expenses. Our sales efforts involve educating our customers about the use, technical capabilities and benefits of our platform, and working through technical connections and troubleshooting technical issues with prospective customers. Some of our customers 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 customers and begin generating revenue from these new customers. Even if our sales efforts result in obtaining a new customer, the customer controls when and to what extent it uses our platform and therefore the amount of revenue we generate, and it may not sufficiently justify the expenses incurred to acquire the customer and the related training support. As a result, we may not be able to add customers, or generate revenue, as quickly as we may expect, which could harm our growth prospects.
Failure to maintain the brand security features of our solution could harm our reputation and expose us to liabilities.
Advertising is bought and sold through our solution in automated transactions that occur in milliseconds. It is important to sellers that the advertising placed on their media be of high quality, consistent with applicable seller standards, not conflict with existing seller arrangements, and be compliant with applicable legal and regulatory requirements. It is important to buyers that their advertisements be placed on appropriate media, in proximity with appropriate content, that the impressions for which they are charged be legitimate, and that their advertising campaigns yield their desired results. We use various measures, including technology, internal processes and protocols in an effort to store, manage and process rules set by buyers and sellers and to ensure the quality and integrity of the results delivered to sellers and advertisers through our solution. If we fail to properly implement or honor rules established by buyers and sellers, improper advertisements may be placed through our platform, which can result in harm to our reputation as well as the need to pay refunds and potential legal liabilities.
Economic downturns and market conditions beyond our control could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our business depends on the overall demand for advertising and on the economic health of advertisers and publishers that benefit from our platform. Economic downturns or unstable market conditions such as those potentially created by the outbreak of COVID-19 discussed above, may cause advertisers to decrease their advertising budgets, which could reduce spend though our platform and adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition. 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.
We may be required to delay recognition of some of our revenue, which may harm our financial results in any given period.
We may be required to delay recognition of revenue for a significant period of time after entering into an agreement due to a variety of factors, including, among other things, whether:

the transaction involves both current products and products that are under development;
 
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the customer requires significant modifications, configurations or complex interfaces that could delay delivery or acceptance of our products;

the transaction involves acceptance criteria or other terms that may delay revenue recognition; or

the transaction involves performance milestones or payment terms that depend upon contingencies.
Because of these factors and other specific revenue recognition requirements under GAAP, we must have very precise terms in our contracts to recognize revenue when we initially provide access to our survey platform or other products. Although we strive to enter into agreements that meet the criteria under GAAP for current revenue recognition on delivered performance obligations, our agreements are often subject to negotiation and revision based on the demands of our customers. The final terms of our agreements sometimes result in deferred revenue recognition, which may adversely affect our financial results in any given period. In addition, more customers may require extended payment terms, shorter term contracts or alternative licensing arrangements that could reduce the amount of revenue we recognize upon delivery of our other products and could adversely affect our short-term financial results.
Furthermore, the presentation of our financial results requires us to make estimates and assumptions that may affect revenue recognition. In some instances, we could reasonably use different estimates and assumptions, and changes in estimates are likely to occur from period to period. Accordingly, actual results could differ significantly from our estimates.
Our credit facilities subject us to operating restrictions and financial covenants that impose risk of default and may restrict our business and financing activities.
Our credit facilities are subject to certain financial ratio and liquidity covenants, as well as restrictions that limit our ability, among other things, to:

dispose of or sell our assets;

make material changes in our business or management;

consolidate or merge with other entities;

incur additional indebtedness;

create liens on our assets;

pay dividends;

make investments;

enter into transactions with affiliates; and

pay off or redeem subordinated indebtedness.
These covenants may restrict our ability to finance our operations and to pursue our business activities and strategies. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond our control. If a default were to occur and is not waived, such default could cause, among other remedies, all of the outstanding indebtedness under our credit facilities to become immediately due and payable. In such an event, our liquid assets might not be sufficient to meet our repayment obligations, and we might be forced to liquidate collateral assets at unfavorable prices or our assets may be foreclosed upon and sold at unfavorable valuations.
Our ability to renew our existing term credit facility, which matures in September 2023, our existing revolving credit facility, which matures in December 2026, or to enter into a new credit facility to replace or supplement the existing facilities may be limited due to various factors, including the status of our business, global credit market conditions and perceptions of our business or industry by sources of financing. In addition, if credit is available, lenders may seek more restrictive covenants and higher interest rates that may reduce our borrowing capacity, increase our costs and reduce our operating flexibility.
If we do not have or are unable to generate sufficient cash available to repay our debt obligations when they become due and payable, either upon maturity or in the event of a default, we may not be able to obtain
 
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additional debt or equity financing on favorable terms, if at all. Our inability to obtain financing may negatively impact our ability to operate and continue our business as a going concern.
Our business is subject to the risk of catastrophic events such as pandemics, earthquakes, flooding, fire and power outages, and to interruption by man-made problems such as terrorism.
Our business is vulnerable to damage or interruption from pandemics, earthquakes, flooding, fire, power outages, telecommunications failures, terrorist attacks, acts of war, human errors, break-ins and similar events. A significant natural disaster could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition, and our insurance coverage may be insufficient to compensate us for losses that may occur. In addition, acts of terrorism could cause disruptions in our or our publishers’ and partners’ businesses or the economy as a whole. Our servers may also be vulnerable to computer viruses, break-ins, denial-of-service attacks and similar disruptions from unauthorized tampering with our computer systems, which could lead to interruptions, delays and the loss of critical data. We may not have sufficient protection or recovery plans in some circumstances. As we rely heavily on our data center facilities, computer and communications systems and the internet to conduct our business and provide high-quality customer service, these disruptions could negatively impact our ability to run our business and either directly or indirectly disrupt publishers’ and partners’ businesses, which could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Unfavorable publicity and negative public perception about our industry, particularly 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 adversely affect our business and operating results.
With the growth of digital advertising, there is increasing awareness and concern among the general public, privacy advocates, mainstream media, governmental bodies and others regarding marketing, advertising and data privacy matters, particularly as they relate to individual privacy interests and the global reach of the online marketplace. 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, customer or inventory provider expectations, or the broader public, may harm our reputation, result in loss of goodwill and inhibit the use of our platform by current and future customers. Any unfavorable publicity or negative public perception about us, our industry, including our competitors, or even other data-focused industries, can affect our business and results of operations, and may lead to digital publishers or our customers changing their business practices or additional regulatory scrutiny or lawmaking that affects us or our industry. For example, in recent years, consumer advocates, mainstream media and elected officials have increasingly and publicly criticized the data and marketing industry for its collection, storage and use of personal data. Additional public scrutiny may lead to general distrust of our industry, consumer reluctance to share and permit use of personal data, increased consumer opt-out rates or increased private class actions, any of which could negatively influence, change or reduce our current and prospective customers’ demand for our products and services, subject us to liability and adversely affect our business and operating results.
Our management team has limited experience managing a public company.
Most members of our management team have limited or no experience managing a publicly-traded company, interacting with public company investors, and complying with the increasingly complex laws, rules and regulations that govern public companies. There are significant obligations we will now be subject to relating to reporting, procedures and internal controls, and our management team may not successfully or efficiently manage our transition to being a public company. These new obligations and added scrutiny will require significant attention from our management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business, which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. We expect that compliance with these requirements will increase our compliance costs. We will need to hire additional accounting, financial and legal staff with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge and will need to establish an internal audit function. We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur as a result of becoming a public company or the timing of these costs.
 
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We also expect that being a public company will make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly to serve on our Audit Committee and Compensation Committee, and qualified executive officers.
We are subject to payment-related risks and, if our clients do not pay or dispute their invoices, our business, financial condition and operating results may be adversely affected.
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. 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. We may also be involved in disputes with agencies and 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 collect or make adjustments to bills to clients, we could incur write-offs for bad debt, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations for the periods in which the write-offs occur. In the future, bad debt may exceed reserves for such contingencies and our bad debt exposure may increase over time. Any increase in write-offs for bad debt could have a materially negative effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition. Even if we are not paid by our clients on time or at all, we are still obligated to pay for the advertising we have purchased for the advertising campaign, and as a consequence, our results of operations and financial condition would be adversely impacted.
Furthermore, we are generally contractually required to pay suppliers of advertising inventory and data within a negotiated period of time, regardless of whether our customers pay us on time, or at all. While we attempt to negotiate long payment periods with our suppliers and shorter periods from our customers, we are not always successful. As a result, our accounts payable are often due on shorter cycles than our accounts receivables, requiring us to remit payments from our own funds, and accept the risk of bad debt.
Our revenue and operating results are highly dependent on the overall demand for advertising. Factors that affect the amount of advertising spending, such as economic downturns and seasonality, particularly in the second and third quarters of our fiscal year, can make it difficult to predict our revenue and could adversely affect our business.
Our business depends on the overall demand for advertising and on the economic health of our current and prospective sellers and advertisers. If advertisers reduce their overall advertising spending, our revenue and results of operations are directly affected. For Colossus SSP, many advertisers devote a disproportionate amount of their advertising budgets to the third and fourth quarters of the calendar year to coincide with the annual holiday purchasing season, and buyers may spend more in the second and third quarters for seasonality and budget reasons. As a result, if any events occur to reduce the amount of advertising spending during the second, third or fourth quarters, or reduce the amount of inventory available to advertisers during that period, it could have a disproportionate adverse effect on our revenue and operating results for that fiscal year. Economic downturns or instability in political or market conditions generally may cause current or new advertisers to reduce their advertising budgets. Reductions in inventory due to loss of sellers would make our solution less robust and attractive to buyers. Adverse economic conditions and general uncertainty about economic recovery are likely to affect our business prospects. In particular, uncertainty regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy in the United States may cause general business conditions in the United States and elsewhere to deteriorate or become volatile, which could cause advertisers to delay, decrease or cancel purchases of our solution, and expose us to increased credit risk on advertiser orders. Moreover, any changes in the favorable tax treatment of advertising expenses and the deductibility thereof would likely cause a reduction in advertising demand.
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, results of operations and financial condition could be harmed.
We depend on various technology, software, products and services from third parties or available as open source, including for critical features and functionality of our platform and technology, payment
 
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processing, payroll and other professional services. 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 materially and 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, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If the use of third-party “cookies,” mobile device IDs or other tracking technologies is restricted without similar or better alternatives, our platform’s effectiveness could be diminished and our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We use “cookies,” which are small text files placed on consumer devices when an internet browser is used, and mobile device identifiers, to gather data that enables our platform to be more effective. Our cookies and mobile device IDs do not identify consumers directly, but record information such as when a consumer views or clicks on an advertisement, when a consumer uses a mobile app, the consumer’s location, consumer demographic, psychographic interest and browser or other device information. Publishers and partners may also choose to share their information about consumers’ interests or give us permission to use their cookies and mobile device IDs. We use data from cookies, mobile device IDs, and other tracking technologies to help advertisers decide whether to bid on, and how to price, an ad impression in a certain location, at a given time or for a particular consumer. Without cookies, mobile device IDs and other tracking technology data, transactions processed through our platform would be executed with less insight into consumer activity, reducing the precision of advertisers’ decisions about which impressions to purchase for an advertising campaign. This could make placement of advertising through our platform less valuable and harm our revenue. If our ability to use cookies, mobile device IDs or other tracking technologies is limited, we may be required to develop or obtain additional applications and technologies to compensate for the lack of cookies, mobile device IDs and other tracking technology data, which could be time consuming or costly to develop, less effective and subject to additional regulation.
Some consumers also download free or paid “ad blocking” software on their computers or mobile devices, not only for privacy reasons, but also to counteract the adverse effect advertisements can have on the consumer experience, including increased load times, data consumption and screen overcrowding. Ad-blocking technologies and other global privacy controls may prevent some third-party cookies, or other tracking technologies, from being stored on a consumer’s computer or mobile device. If more consumers adopt these measures, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected. Ad-blocking technologies could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition if they reduce the volume or effectiveness and value of advertising. In addition, some ad-blocking technologies block only ads that are targeted through use of third-party data, while allowing ads based on first-party data (i.e., data owned by the publisher). These ad blockers could place us at a disadvantage because we rely on third-party data, while some large competitors have a significant amount of first-party data they use to direct advertising. Other technologies allow ads that are deemed “acceptable,” which could be defined in ways that place us or our publishers at a disadvantage, particularly if such technologies are controlled or influenced by our competitors. Even if ad blockers do not ultimately have an adverse effect on our business, investor concerns about ad blockers could cause our stock price to decline.
Additionally, in January 2020, Alphabet Inc.’s Google subsidiary (“Alphabet”) announced that its Chrome web browser would be removing support for third-party cookies by 2023. In March 2021, Alphabet announced that it would not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor would Google use them in its products. These changes, and other privacy controls that may be put in place by other web companies in the future, have the potential to have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition if they reduce the volume or effectiveness and value of advertising.
Market pressure may reduce our revenue per impression.
Our revenue may be affected by market changes, new demands by publishers and buyers, removal of cookies usage from the existing value chain, new solutions and competitive pressure. Our solutions may be
 
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priced too high or too low, either of which may carry adverse consequences. We may receive requests from publishers for discounts, fee revisions, rebates and refunds, or from DSPs, agencies and advertisers for volume discounts, fee revisions and rebates. Any of these developments could adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. Any failure for our pricing approaches to gain acceptance could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We face potential liability and harm to our business based on the human factor of inputting information into our platform.
We or our customers set up campaigns on our platform using a number of available variables. While our platform includes several checks and balances, it is possible for human error to result in significant over-spending. We offer a number of protections such as daily or overall spending caps. However, despite these protections, the risk of 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 customer with a high credit limit enters an incorrect daily cap with a campaign set to a rapid pace, it is possible for a campaign to accidently go significantly over budget. Our potential liability for such errors may be higher when they occur in situations in which we are executing purchases on behalf of a customer rather than the customer using the self-service feature of our platform. While our customer contracts state that customers are responsible for media purchased through our platform, we are ultimately responsible for paying the inventory providers and we may be unable to collect when such errors occur.
If we are unable to successfully execute our strategies and continue to develop and sell the services and solutions our customers demand, our business, results of operations and financial condition may suffer.
We must adapt to rapidly changing customer demands and preferences in order to successfully execute our strategies. This requires us to anticipate and respond to customer demands and preferences, address business model shifts, optimize our go-to-market execution by improving our cost structure, align sales coverage with strategic goals, improve channel execution and strengthen our services and capabilities in our areas of strategic focus. Any failure to successfully execute our strategies, including any failure to invest in strategic growth areas, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have a limited operating history and, as a result, our past results may not be indicative of future operating performance.
We have a limited operating history with the current scale of our business, which makes it difficult to forecast our future results. You should not rely on our past quarterly or annual results of operations as indicators of future performance. You should consider and evaluate our prospects in light of the risks and uncertainty frequently encountered by companies like ours.
The loss, modification or delay of large or multiple contracts may negatively impact our financial performance.
Our contracts have generally been for terms of relatively short duration. Additionally, our clients generally will have the ability to delay the execution of services, reduce the number of hours that services require, and terminate their contracts with us upon a short notice for convenience and upon the occurrence of certain defined events, such as “for cause.” The loss or delay of a large contract or multiple contracts could adversely and materially affect our operating results.
Our clients include destination marketing organizations (“DMOs”), which often operate as public/private partnerships involving a national, provincial, state and local governmental entity.
Our work for DMOs carries various risks inherent in the government contracting process. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following:

Government entities typically fund projects through appropriated monies and demand is affected by public sector budgetary cycles and funding authorizations. While these projects are often planned and executed as multi-year projects, government entities usually reserve the right to change the scope of or terminate these projects for lack of approved funding and/or at their convenience, which also could limit our recovery of incurred costs, reimbursable expenses and profits on work completed prior to the termination.
 
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Government contracts are subject to heightened reputational and contractual risks compared to contracts with commercial clients. For example, government contracts and the proceedings surrounding them are often subject to more extensive scrutiny and publicity. Negative publicity, including an allegation of improper or illegal activity, regardless of its accuracy, or challenges to government contracts awarded to us, may adversely affect our reputation.

Government contracts can be challenged by other interested parties and such challenges, even if unsuccessful, can increase costs, cause delays and defer project implementation and revenue recognition.

Terms and conditions of government contracts also tend to be more onerous and difficult to negotiate. For example, these contracts often contain high liability for breaches and feature less favorable payment terms and sometimes require us to take on liability for the performance of third parties.

Political and economic factors such as pending elections, the outcome of elections, changes in leadership among key executive or legislative decision makers, revisions to governmental tax or other policies and reduced tax revenues can affect the number and terms of new government contracts signed or the speed at which new contracts are signed, decrease future levels of spending and authorizations for programs that we bid, shift spending priorities to programs in areas for which we do not provide services and/or lead to changes in enforcement or how compliance with relevant rules or laws is assessed.

If a government client discovers improper or illegal activities during audits or investigations, we may become subject to various civil and criminal penalties, including those under the civil U.S. False Claims Act and administrative sanctions, which may include termination of contracts, forfeiture of profits, suspension of payments, fines and suspensions or debarment from doing business with other agencies of that government. The inherent limitations of internal controls may not prevent or detect all improper or illegal activities.

U.S. government contracting regulations impose strict compliance and disclosure obligations. Disclosure is required if certain company personnel have knowledge of “credible evidence” of a violation of federal criminal laws involving fraud, conflict of interest, bribery or improper gratuity, a violation of the civil U.S. False Claims Act or receipt of a significant overpayment from the government. Failure to make required disclosures could be a basis for suspension and/or debarment from federal government contracting in addition to breach of the specific contract and could also impact contracting beyond the U.S. federal level. Reported matters also could lead to audits or investigations and other civil, criminal or administrative sanctions.
The occurrences or conditions described above could affect not only our business with the DMOs and related government entities involved, but also our business with other entities of the same or other governmental bodies or with certain commercial clients and could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We invest significantly in development, and to the extent our development investments do not translate into new solutions or material enhancements to our current solutions, or if we do not use those investments efficiently, our business and results of operations would be harmed.
A key element of our strategy is to invest significantly in our development efforts to improve and develop our software and the features and functionality for our platform. If we do not spend our development budget efficiently or effectively, our business may be harmed and we may not realize the expected benefits of our strategy. Moreover, development projects can be technically challenging, time-consuming and expensive. The nature of these development cycles may cause us to experience delays between the time we incur expenses associated with development and the time we are able to offer compelling platform updates and generate revenue, if any, from such investment. Additionally, anticipated enterprise demand for solutions we are developing could decrease after the development cycle has commenced, and we would nonetheless be unable to avoid substantial costs associated with the development of any such solutions. If we expend a significant amount of resources on development and our efforts do not lead to the successful introduction or
 
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improvement of solutions that are competitive in our current or future markets, our business and results of operations would be adversely affected.
We must provide value to both publishers and buyers of advertising without being perceived as favoring one over the other or being perceived as competing with them through our service offerings.
We provide a platform that intermediates between publishers seeking to sell advertising space and buyers seeking to purchase that space. If we were to be perceived as favoring one side of the transaction to the detriment of the other, or presenting a competitive challenge to their own businesses, demand for our platform from publishers or buyers would decrease and our business, results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.
Future acquisitions or strategic investments could be difficult to identify and integrate, divert the attention of management, and could disrupt our business, dilute stockholder value and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
As part of our growth strategy, we may acquire or invest in other businesses, assets or technologies that are complementary to and fit within our strategic goals. Any acquisition or investment may divert the attention of management and require us to use significant amounts of cash, issue dilutive equity securities or incur debt. In addition, the anticipated benefits of any acquisition or investment may not be realized, and we may be exposed to unknown risks, any of which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, including risks arising from:

difficulties in integrating the operations, technologies, product or service offerings, administrative systems and personnel of acquired businesses, especially if those businesses operate outside of our core competency or geographies in which we currently operate;

ineffectiveness or incompatibility of acquired technologies or solutions;

potential loss of key employees of the acquired business;

inability to maintain key business relationships and reputation of the acquired business;

diversion of management attention from other business concerns;

litigation arising from the acquisition or the activities of the acquired business, including claims from terminated employees, customers, former stockholders or other third parties;

assumption of contractual obligations that contain terms that are not beneficial to us, require us to license or waive intellectual property rights, or increase our risk of liability;

complications in the integration of acquired businesses or diminished prospects, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its global economic effects;

failure to generate the expected financial results related to an acquisition on a timely manner or at all;

failure to accurately forecast the impact of an acquisition transaction; and

implementation or remediation of effective controls, procedures, and policies for acquired businesses.
To fund future acquisitions, we may pay cash or issue additional shares of our Class A common stock or securities convertible into or exchangeable for shares of our Class A common stock, which could dilute our stockholders or diminish our cash reserves. Borrowing to fund an acquisition would result in increased fixed obligations and could also subject us to covenants or other restrictions that could limit our ability to effectively run our business.
Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory
Our business is subject to numerous legal and regulatory requirements and any violation of these requirements or any misconduct by our employees, subcontractors, agents or business partners could harm our business and reputation.
In addition to government contract procurement laws and regulations, we are subject to numerous other federal, state and foreign legal requirements on matters as diverse as data privacy and protection,
 
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employment and labor relations, immigration, taxation, anti-corruption, import/export controls, trade restrictions, internal and disclosure control obligations, securities regulation and anti-competition. Compliance with diverse and changing legal requirements is costly, time-consuming and requires significant resources. Violations of one or more of these requirements in the conduct of our business could result in significant fines and other damages, criminal sanctions against us or our officers, prohibitions on doing business and damage to our reputation. Violations of these regulations or contractual obligations related to regulatory compliance in connection with the performance of customer contracts could also result in liability for significant monetary damages, fines and/or criminal prosecution, unfavorable publicity and other reputational damage, restrictions on our ability to compete for work and allegations by our customers that we have not performed our contractual obligations.
Misconduct by our employees, subcontractors, agents or business partners could subject us to fines and penalties, restitution or other damages, loss of security clearance, loss of current and future customer contracts and suspension or debarment from contracting with federal, state or local government agencies, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Such misconduct could include fraud or other improper activities such as falsifying time or other records, failure to comply with our policies and procedures or violations of applicable laws and regulations.
Changes in legislative, judicial, regulatory or cultural environments relating to information collection, use and processing may limit our ability to collect, use and process data. Such developments could cause revenue to decline, increase the cost of data, reduce the availability of data and adversely affect the demand for our products and services.
We receive, store and process personal information and other data from and about consumers in addition to personal information and other data from and about our customers, employees and services providers. Our handling of this data is subject to a wide variety of federal, state and foreign laws and regulations and is subject to regulation by various government authorities and consumer actions. Our data handling is also subject to contractual obligations and may be deemed to be subject to industry standards.
The U.S. federal and various state and foreign governments have adopted or proposed laws relating to the collection, disclosure, processing, use, storage and security of data relating to individuals and households, including the use of contact information and other data for marketing, advertising and other communications with individuals and businesses. In the U.S., various laws and regulations apply to the collection, disclosure, processing, use, storage and security of certain types of data. Additionally, the FTC, many state attorneys general and many courts are interpreting federal and state consumer protection laws as imposing standards for the collection, disclosure, process, use, storage and security of data. The regulatory framework for data privacy issues worldwide is complex, continually evolving and often conflicting, and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. The occurrence of unanticipated events often rapidly drives the adoption of legislation or regulation affecting the use, collection or other processing of data and manner in which we conduct our business. As a result, further restrictions could be placed upon the collection, disclosure, processing, use, storage and security of information, which could result in a material increase in the cost of obtaining certain kinds of data and could limit the ways in which we may collect, disclose, process, use, store or secure information.
U.S. federal and state legislatures, along with federal regulatory authorities, have recently increased their focus on matters concerning the collection and use of consumer data, including relating to interest-based advertising, or the use of data to draw inferences about a user’s interests and deliver relevant advertising to that user, and similar or related practices, such as cross-device data collection and aggregation, and steps taken to de-identify personal data and to use and distribute the resulting data, including for purposes of personalization and the targeting of advertisements. In the U.S., non-sensitive consumer data generally may be used under current rules and regulations, subject to certain restrictions, including relating to transparency and affirmative “opt-out” rights of the collection or use of such data in certain instances. To the extent additional opt-out rights are made available in the U.S., additional regulations are imposed, or if an “opt-in” model were to be adopted, less data would be available, the cost of data and compliance would be higher, or we could be required to modify our data processing practices and policies.
While our platform and people-based framework operates primarily in the United States, some of our operations may subject us to data privacy laws outside the United States.
 
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We are subject to evolving laws and regulations that dictate whether, how and under what circumstances we, or our data processors, may transfer, process and/or receive certain data, including data shared between countries or regions in which we operate and data shared among our products and services. If one or more of the legal bases for transferring data to the U.S. is invalidated, if we are unable to transfer or receive data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are prohibited from sharing data among our products and services, it could affect the manner in which we provide our services or adversely affect our financial results.
In addition to government regulation, self-regulatory standards and other industry standards may legally or contractually apply to us or be argued to apply to us, or we may elect to comply with such standards or to facilitate our customers’ compliance with such standards. Because privacy, data protection and information security are competitive factors in our industry, we require the advertising publishers participating in our DDP to provide all consumers with notice about our use of cookies and other technologies to execute the collection of consumer data and of the collection and use of consumer data for certain purposes, and to provide consumers with certain choices relating to the use of consumer data. Some of these self-regulatory bodies have the ability to discipline members or participants, which could result in fines, penalties, and/or public censure of our publishers, which could in turn cause reputational harm to us. Additionally, some of these self-regulatory bodies might refer violations of their requirements to the Federal Trade Commission or other regulatory bodies, which could similarly implicate us.
Regulatory investigations and enforcement actions could also impact us. In the U.S., the 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 and the processing of consumer personal information more generally. 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 General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). It is possible that investigations or enforcement actions will involve our practices or practices similar to ours.
In May 2018, the European Union’s GDPR went into effect, and together with national legislation, regulations and guidelines of the EU, UK and Switzerland, ushered in a new and complex data protection regime including principles, rights and obligations with extraterritorial reach of EU, UK and Swiss data protection authorities. The European data protection and security laws, including GDPR, provide for extensive data subject rights, robust obligations on data controllers and processors and additional requirements on businesses to put in place data protection and security compliance programs, systems and processes. Continued evolution of, and varied implementation and interpretation of such European data protection and security laws has increased, and continues to extend. Among other requirements, the GDPR (and its UK equivalent commonly referred to as “UK GDPR”) regulates transfers of personal data (subject to such laws) from the European Economic Area (“EEA”) and the UK to the U.S. as well as other third countries outside EEA and the UK which are deemed not to provide adequate standards of data protection to the levels required by GDPR. The GDPR and UK GDPR also impose numerous privacy-related obligations and requirements for companies operating in the EU and the UK including requiring data controllers not to transfer personal data to US-based processors unless they agree to certain legally binding processing obligations, greater control for data subjects (for example, the “right to be forgotten”), increased data portability for EU and UK consumers, data breach notification requirements and exposure to substantial fines for non-compliance. Under the GDPR and UK GDPR, fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of the annual global revenue of the non-compliant company, whichever is greater, could be imposed for violations of certain of the GDPR’s and UK GDPR’s requirements. Such penalties are in addition to any civil litigation claims by customers and data subjects. The frequency and quantum of fines imposed by EU and UK data protection regulators under GDPR and UK GDPR has been increasing since 2019. Accordingly, the costs of complying with the GDPR, UK GDPR and other foreign data privacy regulatory regimes may make our expansion into these markets less profitable or uneconomical, limiting our potential growth, and potentially adversely affecting our business, prospectus and results of operations.
Our legal risk depends in part on our customers’ 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 customers and data suppliers that they will comply with all applicable laws, including all relevant privacy and data protection regulations. Although we make reasonable efforts to enforce
 
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such representations and contractual requirements, we do not fully audit our customers’ or data suppliers’ compliance with our recommended disclosures or their adherence to privacy laws and regulations. If our customers or data suppliers fail to adhere to our expectations or contracts in this regard, we and our customers or data suppliers could be subject to adverse publicity, damages, and related possible investigation or other regulatory activity.
Because the interpretation and application of privacy and data protection laws, regulations and standards are uncertain, it is possible that these laws, regulations and standards may be interpreted and applied in manners that are, or are asserted to be, inconsistent with our data management practices or the technological features of our products and services. If so, in addition to the possibility of fines, investigations, lawsuits and other claims and proceedings, it may be necessary or desirable for us to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our products and services, which could have an adverse effect on our business. We may be unable to make such changes or modifications in a commercially reasonable manner or at all. Any inability to adequately address privacy concerns, even if unfounded, or any actual or perceived failure to comply with applicable privacy or data protection laws, regulations, standards or policies, could result in additional cost and liability to us, damage our reputation, inhibit sales and harm our business. Furthermore, the costs of compliance with, and other burdens imposed by, the laws, regulations, standards and policies that are applicable to the businesses of our customers may limit the use and adoption of, and reduce the overall demand for, our platform. Privacy concerns, whether valid or not valid, may inhibit market adoption of our platform particularly in certain industries and foreign countries.
Changes in the regulation of the internet could adversely affect our business.
Laws, rules and regulations governing internet communications, advertising and e-commerce are dynamic and the extent of future government regulation with respect thereto is uncertain. Federal and state regulations govern various aspects of our online business, including intellectual property ownership and infringement, trade secrets, the distribution of electronic communications, marketing and advertising, user privacy and data security, search engines and internet tracking technologies. In addition, changes in laws or regulations that adversely affect the growth, popularity or use of the internet, including potentially the recent repeal in the United States of net neutrality, could decrease the demand for our offerings and increase our cost of doing business. Future taxation on the use of the internet or e-commerce transactions could also be imposed. Existing or future regulation or taxation could hinder growth or adversely affect the use of the internet, including the viability of internet e-commerce, which could reduce our revenue, increase our operating expenses and expose us to significant liabilities.
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 “FCPA”), 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 activities. Anti-corruption laws have been enforced with great rigor in recent years and are interpreted broadly and 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. The FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption laws may also hold us liable for acts of corruption or bribery committed by our third-party business partners, representatives and agents, even if we do not authorize such activities. As we increase our international sales and business, and increase our use of third parties, our risks under these laws will increase. As a public company, the FCPA separately requires that we keep accurate books and records and maintain internal accounting controls sufficient to assure management’s control, authority and responsibility over our assets. We have adopted policies and procedures and conduct training designed to prevent improper payments and other corrupt practices prohibited by applicable laws, 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
 
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consequences. Any investigations, actions and/or sanctions could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We rely on licenses to use the intellectual property rights of third parties to conduct our business.
We rely on products, technologies and intellectual property that we license from third parties for use in operating our business. We cannot assure you that these third-party licenses, or support for such licensed products and technologies, will continue to be available to us on commercially reasonable terms, if at all. We cannot be certain that our licensors are not infringing the intellectual property rights of others or that our suppliers and licensors have sufficient rights to the technology in all jurisdictions in which we may operate. Some of our license agreements may be terminated by our licensors for convenience. If we are unable to obtain or maintain rights to any of this technology because of intellectual property infringement claims brought by third parties against our suppliers and licensors or against us, or if we are unable to continue to obtain the technology or enter into new agreements on commercially reasonable terms, our ability to operate and expand our business could be harmed.
Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure
We will be a holding company and our principal asset after the completion of this offering will be our equity interests in DDH LLC, and, accordingly, we will depend on distributions from DDH LLC to pay our taxes, expenses and dividends.
Upon the closing of this offering, we will be a holding company and will have no material assets other than our ownership of LLC Units of DDH LLC. As such, we will have no independent means of generating net sales or cash flow, and our ability to pay our taxes and operating expenses or declare and pay dividends in the future, if any, will be dependent upon the financial results and cash flows of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries and distributions we receive from DDH LLC. DDH LLC and its subsidiaries may not generate sufficient cash flow to distribute funds to us and applicable state law and contractual restrictions, including negative covenants in our debt instruments, may not permit such distributions.
We anticipate that DDH LLC will continue to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, generally will not be subject to any entity-level U.S. federal income tax. Instead, taxable income will be allocated to holders of LLC Units, including us. Accordingly, we will incur income taxes on our allocable share of any net taxable income of DDH LLC and will also incur expenses related to our operations, including payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement, which could be significant. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement” for additional information. Furthermore, our allocable share of DDH LLC’s net taxable income will increase over time as the Continuing LLC Owners redeem or exchange their LLC Units for shares of our Class A common stock.
We intend, as its managing member, to cause DDH LLC to make cash distributions to the owners of LLC Units, including us, in an amount sufficient to (i) fund their or our tax obligations in respect of allocations of taxable income from DDH LLC and (ii) cover our operating expenses, including payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement. However, DDH LLC’s ability to make such distributions may be subject to various limitations and restrictions, such as restrictions on distributions that would either violate any contract or agreement to which DDH LLC is then a party, including debt agreements, or any applicable law. In addition, liability for adjustments to a partnership’s tax return for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, can be imposed on the partnership itself in certain circumstances, absent an election to the contrary. DDH LLC could be subject to material liabilities pursuant to adjustments to its partnership tax returns if, for example, its calculations or allocations of taxable income or loss are incorrect, which also could limit its ability to make distributions to us.
If we do not have sufficient funds to pay taxes or other liabilities or to fund our operations, we may have to borrow funds, which could adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition and subject us to various restrictions imposed by any such lenders. To the extent that we are unable to make payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement for any reason, such payments generally will be deferred and will possibly accrue interest until paid; provided, however, that nonpayment for a specified period may constitute a material breach of a material obligation under the Tax Receivable Agreement and therefore accelerate
 
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payments due thereunder. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement” for more information. In addition, if DDH LLC does not have sufficient funds to make distributions, our ability to declare and pay cash dividends will also be restricted or impaired.
DDH LLC may make cash distributions to us substantially in excess of the amounts we use to make distributions to our stockholders and pay our expenses. To the extent we do not distribute such excess cash as dividends on our Class A common stock, the Continuing LLC Owners would benefit from such cash as a result of their ownership of Class A common stock upon an exchange or redemption of their LLC Units.
Following the completion of this offering, we will receive a portion of any distributions made by DDH LLC. Any cash received from such distributions will first be used by us to satisfy any tax liability and then to make any payments required under the Tax Receivable Agreement. Subject to having available cash and subject to limitations imposed by applicable law and contractual restrictions (including pursuant to our debt instruments), the DDH LLC Agreement requires DDH LLC to make certain distributions to us and the Continuing LLC Owners, pro rata, to facilitate the payment of taxes with respect to the income of DDH LLC that is allocated to us and them to the extent that other distributions made by DDH LLC are otherwise insufficient to pay the tax liabilities of holders of LLC Units. These distributions are based on an assumed tax rate, and to the extent the distributions we receive exceed the amounts we actually require to pay taxes, Tax Receivable Agreement payments and other expenses, we will not be required to distribute such excess cash. Our board of directors may, in its sole discretion, choose to use such excess cash for any purpose, including (i) to make distributions to the holders of our Class A common stock, (ii) to acquire additional newly issued LLC Units, and/or (iii) to repurchase outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. Unless and until our board of directors chooses, in its sole discretion, to declare a distribution, we will have no obligation to distribute such cash (or other available cash other than any declared dividend) to our stockholders.
No adjustments to the redemption or exchange ratio of LLC Units for shares of our Class A common stock will be made as a result of either (i) any cash distribution by us or (ii) any cash that we retain and do not distribute to our stockholders. To the extent we do not distribute such cash as dividends on our Class A common stock and instead, for example, hold such cash balances, buy additional LLC Units or lend them to DDH LLC, this may result in shares of our Class A common stock increasing in value relative to the LLC Units. The holders of LLC Units may benefit from any value attributable to such cash balances if they acquire shares of Class A common stock in redemption of or exchange for their LLC Units or if we acquire additional LLC Units (whether from DDH LLC or from holders of LLC Units) at a price based on the market price of our Class A common stock at the time. See the sections titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — DDH LLC Agreement” and “Dividend Policy” for further information.
The Tax Receivable Agreement with the Continuing LLC Owners and DDH LLC requires us to make cash payments to them in respect of certain tax benefits to which we may become entitled. In certain circumstances, payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement may be accelerated and/or significantly exceed the actual tax benefits we realize.
Upon the closing of this offering, we will be a party to the Tax Receivable Agreement with DDH LLC and each of the Continuing LLC Owners. Under the Tax Receivable Agreement, we will be required to make cash payments to the Continuing LLC Owners equal to 85% of the tax benefits, if any, that we actually realize, or in certain circumstances, are deemed to realize (calculated using certain assumptions) as a result of (i) increases in the tax basis of assets of DDH LLC resulting from (a) any future redemptions or exchanges of LLC Units described under “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — DDH LLC Agreement — LLC Unit Redemption Right” and (b) payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement and (ii) certain other tax benefits arising from payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement” for more information. While the actual amount and timing of any payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement, will vary depending upon a number of factors, including the timing of exchanges, the price of shares of our Class A common stock at the time of the redemption or exchange, the extent to which such redemptions or exchanges are taxable, future tax rates, and the amount and timing of our taxable income (prior to taking into account the tax depreciation or amortization deductions arising from the basis adjustments), we expect that, as a result of the size of the increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of DDH LLC attributable to our interests in DDH LLC, during the expected term of the Tax Receivable
 
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Agreement, the payments that we may make to the Continuing LLC Owners could be significant. See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources — Tax Receivable Agreement” for further information.
Payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement will be based on the tax reporting positions that we determine, and the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) or another tax authority may challenge all or part of the tax basis increases, as well as other related tax positions we take, and a court could sustain such challenge. The Continuing LLC Owners who are parties to the Tax Receivable Agreement will not reimburse us for any payments previously made under the Tax Receivable Agreement if such basis increases or other benefits are subsequently disallowed, except that any excess payments made by us to the Continuing LLC Owners under the Tax Receivable Agreement will be netted against future payments that we might otherwise be required to make to the Continuing LLC Owners under the Tax Receivable Agreement. However, a challenge to any tax benefits initially claimed by us may not arise for a number of years following the initial time of such payment or, even if challenged early, such excess cash payment may be greater than the amount of future cash payments that we might otherwise be required to make under the terms of the Tax Receivable Agreement and, as a result, there might not be sufficient future cash payments against which the prior payments can be fully netted. The applicable U.S. federal income tax rules are complex and factual in nature, and there can be no assurance that the IRS or a court will not disagree with our tax reporting positions. Therefore, payments could be made under the Tax Receivable Agreement in excess of the tax savings that we realize in respect of the tax attributes with respect to the Continuing LLC Owners that are the subject of the Tax Receivable Agreement (the “Tax Attributes”). See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement.”
Finally, the Tax Receivable Agreement also provides that, upon certain mergers, asset sales or other forms of business combination or certain other changes of control, our (or our successor’s) obligations with respect to tax benefits would be based on certain assumptions, including that we (or our successor) would have sufficient taxable income to utilize the benefits arising from the increased tax deductions and tax basis and other benefits covered by the Tax Receivable Agreement. Consequently, it is possible, in these circumstances, that the actual cash tax savings realized by us may be significantly less than the corresponding Tax Receivable Agreement payments. Our accelerated payment obligations and/or assumptions adopted under the Tax Receivable Agreement in the case of a change of control may impair our ability to consummate a change of control transaction or negatively impact the value received by owners of our Class A common stock in a change of control transaction.
If we were deemed to be an investment company under the 1940 Act as a result of our ownership of DDH LLC, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Under Sections 3(a)(1)(A) and (C) of the 1940 Act, a company generally will be deemed to be an “investment company” for purposes of the 1940 Act if (i) it is, or holds itself out as being, engaged primarily, or proposes to engage primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities or (ii) it engages, or proposes to engage, in the business of investing, reinvesting, owning, holding or trading in securities and it owns or proposes to acquire investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of its total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis. We do not believe that we are an “investment company,” as such term is defined in either of those sections of the 1940 Act.
As the sole managing member of DDH LLC, we will control and operate DDH LLC. On that basis, we believe that our interest in DDH LLC is not an “investment security” as that term is used in the 1940 Act. However, if we were to cease participation in the management of DDH LLC, our interest in DDH LLC could be deemed an “investment security” for purposes of the 1940 Act.
We and DDH LLC intend to conduct our operations so that we will not be deemed an investment company. However, if we were to be deemed an investment company, restrictions imposed by the 1940 Act, including limitations on our capital structure and our ability to transact with affiliates, could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
 
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Our organizational structure, including the Tax Receivable Agreement, confers certain benefits upon the Continuing LLC Owners that will not benefit the Class A Common stockholders to the same extent as they will benefit the Continuing LLC Owners.
Our organizational structure, including the Tax Receivable Agreement, confers certain benefits upon the Continuing LLC Owners that will not benefit the holders of our Class A common stock to the same extent. We will enter into a Tax Receivable Agreement with DDH LLC and the Continuing LLC Owners that exchange their LLC Units, which will provide for the payment by us to the Continuing LLC Owners, collectively, of 85% of the amount of tax benefits, if any, that we actually realize, or in some circumstances are deemed to realize, as a result of the Tax Attributes. Due to the uncertainty of various factors, we cannot precisely quantify the likely tax benefits we will realize as a result of purchases of LLC Units and LLC Unit exchanges and the resulting amounts we are likely to pay out to the Continuing LLC Owners pursuant to the Tax Receivable Agreement; however, we estimate that such payments may be substantial. See “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement” for more information. Although we will retain 15% of the amount of such tax benefits that are actually realized, this and other aspects of our organizational structure may adversely impact the future trading market for the Class A common stock. In addition, our organizational structure, including the Tax Receivable Agreement, will impose additional compliance costs and require a significant commitment of resources that would not be required of a company with a simpler organizational structure.
We may not be able to realize all or a portion of the tax benefits that are currently expected to result from the Tax Attributes covered by the Tax Receivable Agreement and from payments made under the Tax Receivable Agreement.
Our ability to realize the tax benefits that we currently expect to be available as a result of the Tax Attributes, the payments made pursuant to the Tax Receivable Agreement, and the interest deductions imputed under the Tax Receivable Agreement all depend on a number of assumptions, including that we earn sufficient taxable income each year during the period over which such deductions are available and that there are no adverse changes in applicable law or regulations. Additionally, if our actual taxable income were insufficient or there were additional adverse changes in applicable law or regulations, we may be unable to realize all or a portion of the expected tax benefits and our cash flows and stockholders’ equity could be negatively affected. See “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement” for more information.
DDH is controlled by the Continuing LLC Owners, whose interests may differ from those of our public stockholders.
Immediately following the completion of this offering and the application of net proceeds from this offering, the Continuing LLC Owners will control approximately 74.0% of the combined voting power of our common stock through their ownership of Class B common stock. These Continuing LLC Owners will, for the foreseeable future, be able to substantially influence us through their ownership position over corporate management and affairs, and will be able to control virtually all matters requiring stockholder approval. These Continuing LLC Owners will be able to, subject to applicable law, elect a majority of the members of our board of directors and control actions to be taken by us and our board of directors, including amendments to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and approval of significant corporate transactions, including mergers and sales of substantially all of our assets. The directors so elected will have the authority, subject to the terms of our indebtedness and applicable rules and regulations, to issue additional stock, implement stock repurchase programs, declare dividends and make other decisions. It is possible that the interests of these Continuing LLC Owners may in some circumstances conflict with our interests and the interests of our other stockholders, including you. For example, these Continuing LLC Owners may have different tax positions from us, especially in light of the Tax Receivable Agreement, which could influence our decisions regarding whether and when to dispose of assets, whether and when to incur new or refinance existing indebtedness, and whether and when DDH should terminate the Tax Receivable Agreement and accelerate its obligations thereunder. In addition, the determination of future tax reporting positions and the structuring of future transactions may take into consideration these Continuing LLC Owners’ tax or other considerations, which may differ from the considerations of us or our other
 
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stockholders. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement” for more information.
Risks Related to Owning our Class A Common Stock
If you purchase shares of our Class A common stock in this offering, your investment will experience immediate dilution.
We expect the initial public offering price of our Class A common stock to be substantially higher than the pro forma net tangible book value per share of our Class A common stock following this offering based on the total value of our tangible assets less our total liabilities. Therefore, if you purchase shares of our Class A common stock in this offering, you will pay a price per share that substantially exceeds our pro forma net tangible book value per share after this offering. Based on an assumed initial public offering price of $8.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, you will experience immediate dilution of $8.07 per share, representing the difference between our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share as of September 30, 2021, after giving effect to the issuance of 4,000,000 shares of our Class A common stock in this offering. To the extent current or future outstanding equity awards are settled in shares of our capital stock, you will incur further dilution. Furthermore, if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares or outstanding options are exercised, you could experience further dilution. For a further description of the dilution that you will experience immediately after this offering, see the section titled “Dilution” for more information.
If we fail to maintain or implement effective internal controls, we may not be able to report financial results accurately or on a timely basis, or to detect fraud, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and the per share price of our Class A common stock.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. We are continuing to develop and refine our disclosure controls and other procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by us in the reports that we will file with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms. We are also continuing to improve our internal control over financial reporting. We have expended, and anticipate that we will continue to expend, significant resources in order to maintain and improve the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting.
Our current controls and any new controls that we develop may become inadequate because of changes in conditions in our business. Further, weaknesses in our disclosure controls or our internal control over financial reporting may be discovered in the future. 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. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could also adversely affect the results of management reports and independent registered public accounting firm audits of our internal control over financial reporting that we will eventually be required to include in our periodic reports that will be filed with the SEC. Ineffective disclosure controls and procedures, and internal control over financial reporting could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial and other information, which would likely have a negative effect on the market price of our Class A common stock. In addition, if we are unable to continue to meet these requirements, we may not be able to remain listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
We are not currently required to comply with the SEC rules that implement Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and are therefore not required to make a formal assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting for that purpose. Upon becoming a public company, we will be required to provide an annual management report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting commencing with our second annual report on Form 10-K. Our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to audit the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting until after we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act. At such time, our
 
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independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse in the event it is not satisfied with the level at which our internal control over financial reporting is documented, designed or operating.
Any failure to maintain effective disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting could have a material and adverse effect on our business and operating results and cause a decline in the market price of our Class A common stock.
Sales of substantial blocks of our Class A common stock into the public market after this offering, including when “lock-up” or “market standoff” periods end, or the perception that such sales might occur, could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline.
Sales of substantial blocks of our Class A common stock into the public market after this offering, including when “lock-up” or “market standoff” periods end, or the perception that such sales might occur, could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline and may make it more difficult for you to sell your Class A common stock at a time and price that you deem appropriate. Upon completion of this offering, we will have 4,000,000 shares of Class A common stock outstanding (assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares). All of the shares of Class A common stock sold in this offering will be freely tradable without restrictions or further registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, except for any shares held by our “affiliates” as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act.
Subject to exceptions described in the section titled “Underwriting,” we, all of our directors and officers and all of the other holders of our capital stock and securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our capital stock, have agreed not to offer, sell or agree to sell, directly or indirectly, any shares of Class A common stock without the permission of the representatives of the underwriters for a period of 180 days from the date of this prospectus. When the applicable lock-up period expires, we, our directors and officers and locked-up equity holders will be able to sell shares into the public market.
We also intend to register the offer and sale of all shares of Class A common stock that we may issue under our equity compensation plans.
There has been no public market for our Class A common stock prior to this offering, and an active market in which investors can resell their shares of our Class A common stock may not develop.
Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our Class A common stock. We cannot predict the extent to which an active market for our Class A common stock will develop or be sustained after this offering, or how the development of such a market might affect the market price of our Class A common stock. The initial public offering price of our shares in this offering has been agreed to between us and the underwriters based on a number of factors, including market conditions in effect around the time of this offering, and it may not be in any way indicative of the price at which the shares of our Class A common stock will trade following the completion of this offering. Accordingly, investors may not be able to resell their shares of our Class A common stock at or above the initial public offering price.
We may experience fluctuations in our operating results, which could make our future operating results difficult to predict or cause our operating results to fall below analysts’ and investors’ expectations.
Our quarterly and annual operating results have fluctuated in the past and we expect our future operating results to fluctuate due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Fluctuations in our operating results could cause our performance to fall below the expectations of analysts and investors, and adversely affect the price of our Class A common stock. Because our business is changing and evolving rapidly, our historical operating results may not be necessarily indicative of our future operating results. Factors that may cause our operating results to fluctuate include the following:

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

changes in our pricing policies, the pricing policies of our competitors and the pricing or availability of inventory, data or of other third-party services;
 
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changes in our customer base and platform offerings;

the addition or loss of customers;

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

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

changes and uncertainty in the regulatory environment for us, advertisers or publishers;

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;

the possible effects of the widespread domestic and global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including on general economic conditions, public health and consumer demand and financial markets;

changes in the 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;

the introduction of new technologies or offerings by our competitors;

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; and

costs related to acquisitions of businesses or technologies, or employee recruiting.
Based upon the factors above and others beyond our control, we have a limited ability to forecast our future revenue, costs and expenses, and as a result, our operating results may, from time to time, fall below our estimates or the expectations of analysts and investors.
Seasonal fluctuations in advertising activity could have a material impact on our revenue, cash flow and operating results.
Our revenue, cash flow, operating results and other key operating and performance metrics may vary from quarter to quarter due to the seasonal nature of our customers’ spending on advertising campaigns. Pricing of digital ad impressions in the fourth quarter is likely to be higher due to increased demand. In addition, adverse economic conditions or economic uncertainty may cause advertisers to decrease purchases of digital ad impressions, adversely affecting our revenue and results of operations. For example, if Google and Facebook become the preferred destinations for advertisers, lower demand for ad impressions processed on our platform could cause publishers to reduce their use of our platform or to cease using it altogether. A decline in the market for programmatic advertising or the failure of that market to grow as expected could also adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Any decline in the volume or perceived quality of the ad impressions available on our platform could further reduce demand. Any such developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Political advertising could also cause our revenue to increase during election cycles and decrease during other periods, making it difficult to predict our revenue, cash flow and operating results, all of which could fall below our expectations.
Our charter documents and Delaware law could discourage takeover attempts and other corporate governance changes.
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws in effect upon completion of this offering 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 certain provisions that:
 
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permit the board of directors to establish the number of directors and fill any vacancies and newly created directorships;

provide that, after a removal for cause, 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;

require the affirmative vote of the holders of 66 2/3% of the voting power of our outstanding common stock to amend certain provisions of 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;

restrict the forum for certain litigation against us to Delaware or federal courts;

permit our board of directors to alter our bylaws without obtaining stockholder approval; 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 (the “DGCL”). 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 without the approval of our board of directors. In addition, our credit facility includes, and other debt instruments we may enter into in the future may include, provisions entitling the lenders to demand immediate repayment of all borrowings upon the occurrence of certain change of control events relating to us, which also could discourage, delay or prevent a business combination transaction.
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 will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, and will be 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 the Nasdaq Capital Market, and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Compliance with these rules and regulations will increase 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 operating results and maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting. Significant resources and management oversight will be 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 operating results. Although we have already hired additional employees to comply with these requirements, we may need to hire even more employees in the future, which will increase our costs and expenses.
We also expect that being a public company and these new rules and regulations will make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly to serve on our audit committee and compensation committee, and qualified executive officers.
We have broad discretion in the use of net proceeds that we receive in this offering and we may not use them effectively.
After giving effect to the use of proceeds described in “Use of Proceeds,” we expect to have remaining net proceeds, which we currently intend to use for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including potential future acquisition of, or investment in, technologies or businesses that complement our business. We have no present commitments or agreements to enter into any acquisitions or make any investments. Our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds, including
 
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possible acquisitions of, or investments in, businesses or technologies. The failure by our management to apply these funds effectively could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.
Reduced reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to us as an emerging growth company could make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an emerging growth company and, for as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, we may continue to avail ourselves of exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies. Consequently, we are not required to have our independent registered public accounting firm audit our internal control over financial reporting under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and we are subject to reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. As a result, our financial statements may not be comparable to companies that comply with new or revised accounting pronouncements as of the dates such pronouncements are effective for public companies. We could be an emerging growth company for up to five years following the completion of this offering. We will cease to be an emerging growth company upon the earliest of: (i) the end of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of this offering, (ii) the first fiscal year after our annual gross revenue is $1.07 billion or more, (iii) the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than $1 billion in nonconvertible debt securities or (iv) the end of any fiscal year in which the market value of our Class A common stock held by non-affiliates exceeded $700 million as of the end of the second quarter of that fiscal year. We cannot predict whether investors will find our Class A common stock less attractive if we choose to rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our Class A common stock less attractive as a result of any choices to reduce future disclosure, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common stock, and the price of our Class A common stock may be more volatile.
Our shares of Class A common stock will be subject to potential delisting if we do not continue to maintain the listing requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market.
We have applied to have our shares of Class A common stock listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market, under the symbol “DRCT.” The Nasdaq Capital Market has rules for continued listing, including, without limitation, minimum market capitalization and other requirements. Failure to maintain our listing, or de-listing from the Nasdaq Capital Market, would make it more difficult for shareholders to sell our securities and more difficult to obtain accurate price quotations on our securities. This could have an adverse effect on the price of our Class A common stock. Our ability to issue additional securities for financing or other purposes, or otherwise to arrange for any financing we may need in the future, may also be materially and adversely affected if our Class A common stock is not traded on a national securities exchange.
Because we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our Class A common stock in the foreseeable future, capital appreciation, if any, will be your sole source of gains.
We have never declared or paid any dividends on our Class A common stock. We currently intend to retain any earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors. In addition, the terms of our existing debt arrangements preclude us from paying dividends and our future debt agreements, if any, may contain similar restrictions. As a result, you may only receive a return on your investment in our Class A common stock if the market price of our Class A common stock increases.
The trading price of the shares of our Class A common stock is likely to be volatile, and purchasers of our Class A common stock could incur substantial losses.
Technology stocks historically have experienced high levels of volatility. The trading price of our Class A common stock following this offering may fluctuate substantially. Following the completion of this offering, the market price of our Class A common stock may be higher or lower than the price you pay in
 
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the offering, depending on many factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance. These fluctuations could cause you to incur substantial losses, including all of your investment in our Class A common stock. Factors that could cause fluctuations in the trading price of our Class A common stock include the following:

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

announcements of new solutions 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;

changes in how customers perceive the benefits of our platform and future offerings;

the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements and filings with the SEC;

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

sales of large blocks of our Class A common stock;

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

changes in actual or future expectations of investors or securities analysts;

litigation involving us, our industry or both;

governmental or regulatory actions or audits;

regulatory developments applicable to our business, including those related to privacy in the United States or globally;

general economic conditions and trends;

major catastrophic events in our domestic and foreign markets; and

departures of key employees.
We are a “controlled company” for purposes of the Nasdaq Marketplace Rules and, as a result, qualify for, and may rely on, exemptions and relief from certain corporate governance requirements. If we rely on these exemptions, our stockholders will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such requirements.
Following this offering, DDM will beneficially own approximately 74.0% of the combined voting power of our Class A and Class B common stock. As a result, we will be a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq corporate governance standards. Under these corporate governance standards, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power in the election of directors is held by an individual, group or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements. For example, controlled companies are not required to have:

a board that is composed of a majority of “independent directors,” as defined under the Nasdaq rules;

a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors; and

director nominations be made, or recommended to the full board of directors, by its independent directors, or by a nominations/governance committee that is composed entirely of independent directors.
While we do not intend to rely on the exemptions related to being a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq rules, we may utilize these exemptions for as long as we continue to qualify as a “controlled company.” Accordingly, our stockholders may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market. Investors may find our Class A common stock less attractive as a result of our reliance on these exemptions. If some investors find our Class A common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.
 
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General Risks
Failure to manage our growth effectively could cause our business to suffer and have an adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.
We have experienced 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 customer 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. You should not consider our revenue growth and levels of profitability in recent periods 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 operating results and financial condition.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research reports about our business, our share price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our Class A common stock will partially depend on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. We do not have any control over these analysts. If one or more of the analysts who cover us should downgrade our shares or change their opinion of our business prospects, our share price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of us or fails to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause our share price or trading volume to decline.
Our reported financial results may be adversely affected by changes in accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies prove to be incorrect, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”), the SEC and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported results of operations and could affect the reporting of transactions already completed before the announcement of a change.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as discussed in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates.” The results of these estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets, liabilities and equity, and the amount of revenue and expenses that are not readily apparent from other sources. Significant estimates, judgments, and assumptions used in our financial statements include, but are not limited to, those related to revenue recognition, accounts receivable and related reserves, useful lives and realizability of long lived assets, capitalized internal-use software development costs, assumptions used in the valuation of warrants, accounting for stock-based compensation, and valuation allowances against deferred tax assets. These estimates are periodically reviewed for any changes in circumstances, facts and experience. Our results of operations may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our results of operations to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the market price of our Class A common stock.
Global and national financial events may have an impact on our business and financial condition in ways that we currently cannot predict.
A credit crisis, turmoil in the global or U.S. financial system, recession or similar possible events in the future could negatively impact us. A financial crisis or recession may limit our ability to raise capital through
 
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credit and equity markets. The prices for the products and services that we intend to provide may be affected by a number of factors, and it is unknown how these factors may be impacted by a global or national financial event.
If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies are erroneous or based on assumptions that change or prove to be incorrect, our operating results could fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in our stock price.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on our best judgment, historical experience, information derived from third parties and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as discussed in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets, liabilities, equity, revenue and expenses that are not readily apparent from other sources. Our operating results may be adversely affected if our judgments prove to be wrong, assumptions change or actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our operating results to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in our stock price. Significant assumptions and estimates used in preparing our consolidated financial statements include those related to revenue recognition, stock-based compensation and income taxes.
 
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CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This prospectus contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws and which are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties. We use words such as “could,” “would,” “may,” “might,” “will,” “expect,” “likely,” “believe,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “project” and other similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements, but not all forward-looking statements include these words. All of our forward-looking statements involve estimates and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements. Accordingly, any such statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the information described under the caption “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this prospectus.
The forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus are based on assumptions that we have made in light of our industry experience and our perceptions of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors we believe are appropriate under the circumstances. As you read and consider this prospectus, you should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. They involve risks, uncertainties (many of which are beyond our control) and assumptions. Although we believe that these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, you should be aware that many factors could affect our actual operating and financial performance and cause our performance to differ materially from the performance expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements. We believe these factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

our dependence on the overall demand for advertising, which could be influenced by economic downturns;

any slow-down or unanticipated development in the market for programmatic advertising campaigns;

the effects of health epidemics, such as the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic;

operational and performance issues with our platform, whether real or perceived, including a failure to respond to technological changes or to upgrade our technology systems;

any significant inadvertent disclosure or breach of confidential and/or personal information we hold, or of the security of our or our customers’, suppliers’ or other partners’ computer systems;

any unavailability or non-performance of the non-proprietary technology, software, products and services that we use;

unfavorable publicity and negative public perception about our industry, particularly concerns regarding data privacy and security relating to our industry’s technology and practices, and any perceived failure to comply with laws and industry self-regulation;

restrictions on the use of third-party “cookies,” mobile device IDs or other tracking technologies, which could diminish our platform’s effectiveness;

any inability to compete in our intensely competitive market;

any significant fluctuations caused by our high customer concentration;

our limited operating history, which could result in our past results not being indicative of future operating performance;

any violation of legal and regulatory requirements or any misconduct by our employees, subcontractors, agents or business partners;

any strain on our resources, diversion of our management’s attention or impact on our ability to attract and retain qualified board members as a result of being a public company;

as a holding company, we will depend on distributions from DDH LLC to pay our taxes, expenses (including payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement) and dividends;

DDH LLC may make distributions of cash to us substantially in excess of the amounts we use to make distributions to our stockholders and pay our expenses (including our taxes and payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement), which, to the extent not distributed as dividends on our Class A
 
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common stock, would benefit the Continuing LLC Owners as a result of their ownership of Class A common stock upon an exchange or redemption of their LLC Units; and

other factors and assumptions discussed in this prospectus under “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Business.”
Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should any of these assumptions prove to be incorrect, our actual operating and financial performance may vary in material respects from the performance projected in these forward-looking statements. Further, any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement contained in this prospectus to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which it is made or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances. New factors that could cause our business not to develop as we expect emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of them. Further, we cannot assess the impact of each currently known or new factor on our results of operations or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.
 
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USE OF PROCEEDS
We estimate that the net proceeds from the sale of our Class A common stock that we are offering will be approximately $27.0 million (or approximately $31.5 million if the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of our Class A common stock from us is exercised in full), based on an assumed public offering price of $8.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering to purchase 4,000,000 newly issued LLC Units (or 4,600,000 LLC Units if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock) directly from DDH LLC at a purchase price per LLC Unit equal to the initial public offering price per share of Class A common stock less the underwriting discounts and commissions.
We intend to cause DDH LLC to use such proceeds (together with any additional proceeds it may receive if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock), after deducting estimated offering expenses, together with our existing cash and cash equivalents, to purchase all LLC Units held by USDM for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $14.0 million and for working capital and general corporate purposes, including potential future acquisition of, or investment in, technologies or businesses that complement our business. We have no present commitments or agreements to enter into any such acquisitions or make any such investments. Pending these uses, we may invest the net proceeds from this offering in short-term, investment-grade, interest-bearing securities such as money market accounts, certificates of deposit, commercial paper and guaranteed obligations of the U.S. government.
Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $8.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease the net proceeds that we receive from this offering by approximately $3.7 million, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us. Similarly, each increase or decrease of 1,000,000 shares of Class A common stock offered by us in this offering would increase or decrease the net proceeds that we receive from this offering by approximately $7.4 million, assuming the assumed initial public offering price remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us.
This expected use of the net proceeds from this offering represents our intentions based upon our current financial condition, results of operations, business plans and conditions. As of the date of this prospectus, we cannot predict with certainty all of the particular uses for the net proceeds to be received upon the closing of this offering or the amounts that we will actually spend on the uses set forth above. The amounts and timing of our actual expenditures may vary significantly depending on numerous factors. As a result, our management will retain broad discretion over the allocation of the net proceeds from this offering.
 
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DIVIDEND POLICY
Since our inception, we have not paid any dividends on our Class A common stock, and we currently expect that, for the foreseeable future, all earnings will be retained for the development of our business and no dividends will be declared or paid. In the future, our board of directors may decide, at its discretion, whether dividends may be declared and paid, taking into consideration, among other things, our earnings, operating results, financial condition and capital requirements, general business conditions and other pertinent facts. Holders of our Class B common stock are not entitled to participate in any dividends declared by our board of directors.
Upon the completion of this offering, Direct Digital Holdings will be a holding company and will have no material assets other than its ownership of LLC Units. Accordingly, we will depend on distributions from DDH LLC to pay our taxes and expenses, including payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement. The limited liability company agreement of DDH LLC that will be in effect at the time of this offering provides that certain distributions intended to cover the taxes of DDH LLC’s owners will be made based upon assumed tax rates and other assumptions provided in the DDH LLC Agreement. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — DDH LLC Agreement” for more information. Additionally, in the event Direct Digital Holdings declares any cash dividends, we intend to cause DDH LLC to make distributions to Direct Digital Holdings in an amount sufficient to cover such cash dividends declared by us. If DDH LLC makes such distributions to Direct Digital Holdings, the Continuing LLC Owners will also be entitled to receive the respective equivalent pro rata distributions in accordance with the percentages of their respective LLC Units. See the section titled “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure.” To the extent that the tax distributions we receive exceed the amounts we actually require to pay taxes, Tax Receivable Agreement payments and other expenses, we will not be required to distribute such excess cash.
DDH LLC’s ability to make such distributions may be subject to various limitations and restrictions. In addition, DDH LLC is generally prohibited under Delaware law from making a distribution to a member to the extent that, at the time of the distribution, after giving effect to the distribution, liabilities of DDH LLC (with certain exceptions) exceed the fair value of its assets. DDH LLC’s subsidiaries are generally subject to similar legal limitations on its ability to make distributions to DDH LLC.
 
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ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSACTIONS
Existing Organization
Prior to the completion of this offering and the Organizational Transactions described below, the Continuing LLC Owners were the only owners of DDH LLC. DDH LLC is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, generally is not subject to any U.S. federal entity-level income taxes. Rather, taxable income or loss is included in the U.S. federal income tax returns of DDH LLC’s members.
Direct Digital Holdings was incorporated as a Delaware corporation on August 23, 2021 and is the issuer of the Class A common stock being offered in this offering.
Organizational Transactions
In connection with the closing of this offering, we will consummate the following organizational transactions, which we refer to collectively as the “Organizational Transactions”:

we will amend and restate the DDH LLC Agreement to, among other things, appoint Direct Digital Holdings as the sole managing member of DDH LLC and effectuate a recapitalization of all outstanding preferred units and common units into a single class of economic nonvoting units of DDH LLC. We will otherwise operate as a holding company. Direct Digital Holdings will include DDH LLC in its consolidated financial statements;

we will amend and restate the Direct Digital Holdings certificate of incorporation to, among other things, provide for Class A common stock, each share of which entitles its holders to one vote per share, and Class B common stock, each share of which entitles its holders to one vote per share on all matters presented to Direct Digital Holdings’ stockholders;

we will cause DDH LLC to purchase all of the LLC Units held by USDM for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $14.0 million;

the Continuing LLC Owners will continue to own the LLC Units they receive in exchange for their outstanding common units in DDH LLC, representing approximately 74.0% of the economic interest in the business of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries (or approximately 71.2%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock) and we will issue shares of Class B common stock, each share of which entitles its holder to one vote per share, to the Continuing LLC Owners on a one-to-one basis with the number of LLC Units each Continuing LLC Owner owns upon the consummation of the Organizational Transactions, for nominal consideration; the LLC Units, following the completion of this offering, will be redeemable, at the Continuing LLC Owners’ election from time to time, for newly issued shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis (subject to customary adjustments, including for stock splits, stock dividends and reclassifications) in accordance with the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement; provided that, at Direct Digital Holdings’ election, Direct Digital Holdings may effect a direct exchange of such Class A common stock. Shares of Class B common stock will be cancelled on a one-for-one basis if we, at the election of the Continuing LLC Owners that hold Class B common stock, redeem or exchange such holders’ LLC Units pursuant to the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement;

Direct Digital Holdings will enter into the Tax Receivable Agreement with the Continuing LLC Owners and DDH LLC;

Direct Digital Holdings will issue 4,000,000 shares of Class A common stock to the purchasers in this offering (or 4,600,000 shares of our Class A common stock if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock); and

Direct Digital Holdings will use all of the net proceeds from this offering (including any net proceeds received upon exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock) to acquire newly issued LLC Units from DDH LLC at a purchase price per interest equal to the initial public offering price per share of Class A common stock, less underwriting discounts and commissions, collectively representing 26.0% of DDH LLC’s outstanding LLC Units (or 28.8%, if
 
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the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock). Following the completion of this offering, Direct Digital Holdings will hold a number of LLC Units that is equal to the number of shares of Class A common stock that it has issued, a relationship that we believe fosters transparency because it results in a single share of Class A common stock representing the same percentage ownership in DDH LLC as a single unit of LLC Units. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — DDH LLC Agreement.”
Organizational Structure Following This Offering
Immediately following the completion of the Organizational Transactions, including this offering:

Direct Digital Holdings will be a holding company and the principal asset of Direct Digital Holdings will be our interests in DDH LLC;

Direct Digital Holdings will be the sole managing member of DDH LLC and will control the business and affairs of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries;

Direct Digital Holdings’ amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the DDH LLC Agreement will require that we and DDH LLC at all times maintain a one-to-one ratio between the number of shares of Class A common stock issued by us and the number of LLC Units owned by us, as well as a one-to-one ratio between the number of shares of Class B common stock owned by the Continuing LLC Owners and the number of LLC Units owned by the Continuing LLC Owners;

Direct Digital Holdings will own LLC Units representing 26.0% of the economic interest in DDH LLC (or 28.8%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock);

the purchasers in this offering (i) will own 4,000,000 shares of Class A common stock, representing approximately 26.0% of the combined voting power of all of Direct Digital Holdings common stock (or 4,600,000 shares of Class A common stock, representing approximately 28.8%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock), (ii) will own 100% of the economic interest in Direct Digital Holdings and (iii) through Direct Digital Holdings ownership of LLC Units, indirectly will hold approximately 26.0% of the economic interest in DDH LLC (or 28.8% if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock);

the Continuing LLC Owners will own (i) through their ownership of Class B common stock approximately 74.0% of the voting power in Direct Digital Holdings (or approximately 71.2%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock) and (ii) LLC Units, representing 74.0% of the economic interest in DDH LLC (or 71.2%, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock). Following the completion of the offering, each LLC Unit held by the Continuing LLC Owners will be redeemable, at their election (subject to the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement) from time to time, for newly issued shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis (subject to customary adjustments, including for stock splits, stock dividends and reclassifications) in accordance with the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement; provided that, at Direct Digital Holdings’ election, Direct Digital Holdings may effect a direct exchange of such Class A common stock. Shares of Class B common stock will be cancelled on a one-for-one basis if we, at the election of the Continuing LLC Owners, redeem or exchange their LLC Units pursuant to the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — DDH LLC Agreement;”

USDM will hold no interest in DDH LLC or us; and

Direct Digital Holdings will enter into the Tax Receivable Agreement with the Continuing LLC Owners and DDH LLC.
Our corporate structure following the completion of this offering, as described below, is commonly referred to as an umbrella partnership-C-corporation, or Up-C, structure, which is often used by partnerships and limited liability companies when they undertake an initial public offering of their business. The Up-C structure will allow the Continuing LLC Owners to retain their equity ownership in DDH LLC and to continue to realize tax benefits associated with owning interests in an entity that is treated as a partnership, or
 
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“passthrough” entity, for U.S. federal income tax purposes following the completion of the offering. Investors in this offering will, by contrast, hold their equity ownership in Direct Digital Holdings, a Delaware corporation that is a domestic corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in the form of shares of Class A common stock. The Continuing LLC Owners will hold LLC Units and, in the case of Continuing LLC Owners who do not exchange their LLC Units for shares of our Class A common stock in connection with the completion of this offering, an equal number of shares of Class B common stock in Direct Digital Holdings. One of the tax benefits to the Continuing LLC Owners associated with this structure is that future taxable income of DDH LLC that is allocated to the Continuing LLC Owners will be taxed on a pass-through basis and therefore will not be subject to corporate taxes at the entity level. Additionally, the Continuing LLC Owners may, from time to time, redeem or exchange their LLC Units for newly issued shares of our Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis. The Up-C structure also provides the Continuing LLC Owners with potential liquidity that holders of non-publicly traded limited liability companies are not typically afforded. If we generate sufficient taxable income, Direct Digital Holdings expects to benefit from the Up-C structure because, in general, we expect cash tax savings in amounts equal to 15% of the Tax Attributes, as described above, arising from such redemptions or exchanges of the Continuing Owners’ LLC Units for Class A Common Stock and certain other tax benefits covered by the Tax Receivable Agreement discussed in the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement.” See the section titled “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure” for more information.
Immediately following the completion of this offering and the application of net proceeds therefrom, Direct Digital Holdings will be a holding company and our principal asset will be the LLC Units we purchase from DDH LLC. As a result, Direct Digital Holdings will have no independent means of generating revenue. As the sole managing member of DDH LLC, Direct Digital Holdings will operate and control all of the business and affairs of DDH LLC and, through DDH LLC and its subsidiaries, conduct our business. Accordingly, we will have the sole voting interest in, and control the management of, DDH LLC. As a result, Direct Digital Holdings will consolidate DDH LLC in our consolidated financial statements and will report a non-controlling interest related to the LLC Units held by the Continuing LLC Owners on our consolidated financial statements. Direct Digital Holdings will have a board of directors and executive officers and employees.
DDH LLC will be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, will generally not be subject to U.S. federal income tax. Instead, taxable income will be allocated to holders of LLC Units, including Direct Digital Holdings. Accordingly, Direct Digital Holdings will incur income taxes on its allocable share of any net taxable income of DDH LLC. Pursuant to the DDH LLC Agreement, DDH LLC will make cash distributions to the owners of LLC Units in an amount sufficient to fund their tax obligations in respect of the cumulative taxable income in excess of cumulative taxable losses of DDH LLC that is allocated to them, to the extent previous distributions from DDH LLC have been insufficient. In addition to tax expenses, Direct Digital Holdings also will incur expenses related to its operations, plus payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement, which Direct Digital Holdings expects will be significant. Direct Digital Holdings intends to cause DDH LLC to make distributions or, in the case of certain expenses, payments in an amount sufficient to allow Direct Digital Holdings to pay its taxes and operating expenses, including distributions to fund any ordinary course payments due under the Tax Receivable Agreement.
As the sole managing member of DDH LLC, Direct Digital Holdings will have the right to determine when distributions will be made to the holders of LLC Units in DDH LLC and the amount of any such distributions (subject to the requirements with respect to the tax distributions described above). If Direct Digital Holdings authorizes a distribution, such distribution will be made to the holders of LLC Units, including Direct Digital Holdings, generally pro rata in accordance with their respective ownership of DDH LLC, provided that Direct Digital Holdings as sole managing member will be entitled to non-pro rata distributions for certain fees and expenses.
As noted above, the Continuing LLC Owners will also hold a number of shares of our Class B common stock equal to the number of LLC Units held by such person. Although these shares have no economic rights, they will allow such Continuing LLC Owners to directly exercise voting power at Direct Digital Holdings, the sole managing member of DDH LLC. Under Direct Digital Holdings’ amended and restated certificate of incorporation, each share of Class B common stock will be entitled to one vote per share.
 
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The DDH LLC Agreement will provide that as a general matter a Continuing LLC Owner will not have the right to exchange LLC Units if Direct Digital Holdings determines that such exchange would be prohibited by law or regulation or would violate other agreements with us to which the Continuing LLC Owner may be subject, including the DDH LLC Agreement. Additionally, the DDH LLC Agreement contains restrictions on redemptions and exchanges intended to prevent DDH LLC from being treated as a “publicly traded partnership” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. These restrictions are modeled on certain safe harbors provided for under applicable U.S. federal income tax law. Direct Digital Holdings may impose additional restrictions on exchange that Direct Digital Holdings determines to be necessary or advisable so that DDH LLC is not treated as a “publicly traded partnership” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a holder redeems or exchanges LLC Units, the number of LLC Units held by Direct Digital Holdings is correspondingly increased, and if the redeeming or exchanging Continuing LLC Owner holds Class B common stock, a corresponding number of such shares of Class B common stock are cancelled. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — DDH LLC Agreement” for more information. Subject to the foregoing, the Continuing LLC Owners of DDH LLC, from time to time following the completion of this offering, may, subject to the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement, exchange their LLC Units for common stock on a one-to-one basis in accordance with the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement, and a corresponding number of such shares of Class B common stock will be cancelled; provided that, at Direct Digital Holdings’ election, Direct Digital Holdings may effect a direct exchange of such Class A common stock.
Following This Offering
The Continuing LLC Owners of DDH LLC, from time to time following the completion of this offering, may, subject to the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement, exchange their LLC Units for common stock on a one-to-one basis in accordance with the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement, and a corresponding number of such shares of Class B common stock will be cancelled; provided that, at Direct Digital Holdings’ election, Direct Digital Holdings may effect a direct exchange of such Class A common stock. Any shares of Class B common stock will be cancelled on a one-for-one basis if we, at the election of the Continuing LLC Owners, redeem or exchange such LLC Units pursuant to the terms of the DDH LLC Agreement. These exchanges and redemptions are expected to result in increases in the tax basis of the assets of DDH LLC that otherwise would not have been available. Increases in tax basis resulting from such exchanges may reduce the amount of tax that Direct Digital Holdings would otherwise be required to pay in the future. This tax basis may also decrease the gains (or increase the losses) on future dispositions of certain assets to the extent tax basis is allocated to those assets.
Direct Digital Holdings will enter into a Tax Receivable Agreement with DDH LLC and each of the Continuing LLC Owners that will provide for the payment by Direct Digital Holdings of 85% of the amount of the calculated tax savings, if any, that Direct Digital Holdings realizes, or in some circumstances is deemed to realize, as a result of this existing and increased tax basis and certain other tax benefits related to it entering into the Tax Receivable Agreement, including tax benefits attributable to payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement. These payment obligations are obligations of Direct Digital Holdings and not of DDH LLC. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement” for additional information.
Direct Digital Holdings may accumulate cash balances in future years resulting from distributions from DDH LLC exceeding its tax or other liabilities. To the extent Direct Digital Holdings does not use such cash balances to pay a dividend on or repurchase shares of Class A common stock and instead decides to hold or recontribute such cash balances to DDH LLC for use in its operations, Continuing LLC Owners who exchange LLC Units and, if applicable, shares of Class B common stock for shares of Class A common stock in the future could also benefit from any value attributable to such accumulated cash balances.
See the section titled “Description of Capital Stock” for more information about our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the terms of the Class A common stock and Class B common stock. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions” for more information about (i) the DDH LLC Agreement, including the terms of the LLC Units and the exchange and redemption right of the Continuing LLC Owners; and (ii) the Tax Receivable Agreement. See the section titled
 
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Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources — Tax Receivable Agreement” for more information about expected payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement.
The diagram below depicts our organizational structure after giving effect to the Organizational Transactions, including this offering, assuming no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock:
[MISSING IMAGE: tm2125950d10-fc_direct4c.jpg]
 
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CAPITALIZATION
The table below shows our cash and cash equivalents and capitalization as of September 30, 2021:

of DDH LLC on an actual basis;

of Direct Digital Holdings on a pro forma basis to give effect to the Organizational Transactions, excluding the effects of this offering; and

of Direct Digital Holdings on a pro forma as adjusted basis to give effect to the Organizational Transactions, including the sale of 4,000,000 shares by us in this offering at an assumed price to the public of $8.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, resulting in net proceeds to us of approximately $13.0 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, and after giving effect to DDH LLC’s redemption of all of USDM’s outstanding LLC units for approximately $14.0 million.
The pro forma and pro forma as adjusted information below is illustrative only, and our capitalization following the closing of this offering will depend on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing. You should read the following information together with the information contained under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Unaudited Pro Forma Consolidated Financial Information” and with our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus.
As of September 30, 2021
Actual
(unaudited)
Pro Forma for the
Organizational
Transactions
and
the offering
(unaudited)(1)
Cash and cash equivalents
$ 2,603,152 $ 15,589,432
Long-term debt
19,844,462 13,388,900
Members’/stockholders’ (deficit) equity:
Members’ (deficit) equity attributable to Direct Digital Holdings, LLC
(2,226,945) (2,817,634)
Units, 1,000,000 units authorized; 34,182 issued and outstanding
4,294,241
Class A common stock, $0.001 par value per share; no shares authorized, issued and outstanding, actual; and 160,000,000 shares authorized, 4,000,000 shares issued and outstanding, pro forma as adjusted
4,000
Class B common stock, $0.001 par value per share; no shares authorized, issued and outstanding, actual; and 20,000,000 shares authorized, 11,378,000 shares issued and outstanding, pro forma as
adjusted
11,378
Additional paid-in capital
24,311,394
Total members’/stockholders’ equity
2,067,296 21,509,138
Total capitalization
$ 21,911,758 $ 34,898,038
(1)
If the underwriters’ option to purchase up to an additional 600,000 shares of our Class A common stock is exercised in full, (i) an additional 600,000 shares of Class A common stock would be issued and we would receive approximately $4.5 million in additional net proceeds, based on the assumed initial public offering price per share of $8.00, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us; and (ii) cash and cash equivalents, total stockholders’ equity and total capitalization would each also increase by approximately $4.5 million.
Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price per share of $8.00, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, assuming no change in the
 
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number of shares to be sold, would increase (decrease) the net proceeds that we receive in this offering and each of total stockholders’ equity and total capitalization by approximately $3.7 million (or $4.3 million if the underwriters exercise the over-allotment option in full), after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Similarly, an increase (decrease) of 1,000,000 shares of our Class A common stock offered by us in this offering, assuming no change in the offering price, would increase (decrease) the new proceeds that we receive in this offering and each of total stockholders’ equity and total capitalization by approximately $7.4 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
The number of our shares of Class A common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering is based on 0 shares of Class A common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2021 and excludes the following (all of which are calculated based on the assumed initial public offering price per share of $8.00, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus):

11,378,000 shares of Class A common stock reserved as of the closing date of this offering for future issuance upon redemption or exchange of LLC Units by the Continuing LLC Owners;

1,500,000 shares of Class A common stock reserved for issuance under our 2022 Omnibus Incentive Plan; and

up to 230,000 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of the representatives’ warrants issued in connection with this offering.
 
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DILUTION
The Continuing LLC Owners will maintain their LLC Units in DDH LLC after the Organizational Transactions. Because the Continuing LLC Owners do not own any Class A common stock or have any right to receive distributions from Direct Digital Holdings, we have presented dilution in pro forma net tangible book value per share after this offering assuming the Continuing LLC Owners had their LLC Units redeemed or exchanged for newly issued shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis, and the cancellation for no consideration of all of its shares of Class B common stock (which are not entitled to distributions from Direct Digital Holdings), in order to more meaningfully present the dilutive impact on the investors in this offering. We refer to the assumed redemption or exchange of all LLC Units owned by the Continuing LLC Owners for shares of Class A common stock as described in the previous sentence as the “Assumed Redemption.” We also note that the effect of the Assumed Redemption is to increase the assumed number of shares of Class A common stock outstanding before the offering, thereby decreasing the pro forma net tangible book value per share before the offering and correspondingly increasing the dilution per share to new Class A common stock investors.
If you invest in our Class A common stock in this offering, your interest will be diluted to the extent of the difference between the initial public offering price per share of Class A common stock and the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share immediately after this offering. Dilution is the amount by which the offering price paid by the purchasers of the Class A common stock in this offering exceeds the pro forma net tangible book value per share of Class A common stock after the offering.
DDH LLC’s pro forma net tangible book value (deficit) as of September 30, 2021 was $(20.5 million), or $(1.80) per share of Class A common stock. Our pro forma net tangible book value (deficit) per share represents the amount of our total tangible assets less our total liabilities, divided by the number of our shares of Class A common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2021 after giving effect to the Organizational Transactions.
After giving effect to the Organizational Transactions, the Assumed Redemption and the sale by us of 4,000,000 shares of Class A common stock in this offering, based on the assumed initial public offering price of $8.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value (deficit) as of September 30, 2021 would have been $(1.1) million, or $(0.07) per share of Class A common stock. This amount represents an immediate dilution of $8.07 per share to new investors purchasing Class A common stock in this offering. We determine dilution by subtracting (adding) the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value (deficit) per share after this offering from the initial public offering price per share paid by investors purchasing Class A common stock in this offering. The following table illustrates this dilution on a per share basis:
Assumed initial public offering price per share
$ 8.00
Pro forma net tangible book value (deficit) per share as of September 30, 2021(1)(2)
$ (1.80)
     
Increase (decrease) in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value (deficit) per share attributable to new investors purchasing shares in this offering
$ 1.73
Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value (deficit) per share after giving effect to this offering
$ (0.07)
Dilution per share to new investors in this offering
$ 8.07
(1)
The computation of pro forma net tangible book value (deficit) per share as of September 30, 2021 before this offering and after the Assumed Redemption is set forth below:
 
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Numerator:
Book value of tangible assets
$7.3 million
Less: total liabilities
(27.8) million
Pro forma net tangible book value (deficit)(a)
$(20.5) million
Denominator:
Shares of Class A common stock outstanding immediately prior to this offering and after the Assumed Redemption
11,378,000
Pro forma net tangible book value (deficit) per share
$(1.80)
(a)
Gives pro forma effect to the Organizational Transactions (other than this offering) and the Assumed Redemption.
(2)
The computation of pro forma net tangible book value (deficit) per share as of September 30, 2021 after this offering and after the Assumed Redemption is set forth below:
Numerator:
Book value of tangible assets
$20.3 million
Less: total liabilities
(21.4) million
Pro forma net tangible book value (deficit)
$(1.1) million
Denominator:
Shares of Class A common stock outstanding immediately after this offering and after the Assumed Redemption
15,378,000
Pro forma net tangible book value (deficit) per share
$(0.07)
If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of our Class A common stock from us in full, our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value would be $0.21 per share, and the dilution in pro forma net tangible book value per share to new investors in this offering would be $7.79 per share.
The following table summarizes, as of September 30, 2021 after giving effect to this offering, the Organizational Transactions and the differences between the Continuing LLC Owners and new investors in this offering with regard to:

the number of shares of Class A common stock purchased from us by investors in this offering and the number of shares issued to the Continuing LLC Owners after giving effect to the Assumed Redemption,

the total consideration paid to us in cash by investors purchasing shares of Class A common stock in this offering and by the Continuing LLC Owners, and

the average price per share of Class A common stock that such Continuing LLC Owners and new investors paid.

The table below is based on an assumed initial public offering price of $8.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, before deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
Shares of Class A
Common Stock
Purchased
Total Consideration
Average Price
Per Share
Number
Percent
Amount
Percent
Continuing LLC Owners
% $ $
New investors in this offering
4,000,000 100 32,000,000 100 8.00
Total
4,000,000 100% $ 32,000,000 100% $ 8.00
 
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Except as otherwise indicated, the discussion and the tables above assume no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock. The number of our shares of Class A common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering is based on 0 shares of our Class A common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2021, and excludes the following (all of which are calculated based on the assumed initial public offering price per share of $8.00, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus):

11,378,000 shares of Class A common stock reserved as of the closing date of this offering for future issuance upon redemption or exchange of LLC Units by the Continuing LLC Owners;

1,500,000 shares of Class A common stock reserved for issuance under our 2022 Omnibus Incentive Plan; and

up to 230,000 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of the representatives’ warrants issued in connection with this offering.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, to the extent there is an increase in the initial public offering price, the number of shares of Class A common stock outstanding and shares of Class A common stock issuable upon redemption of LLC Units would decrease from the amounts noted herein; to the extent there is a decrease in the public offering price, the number of shares of Class A common stock outstanding and shares of Class A common stock issuable upon redemption of LLC Units would increase. A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $8.00 per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would result in a net decrease (increase) of approximately 444,444 (571,429) in the aggregate number of shares of Class A common stock outstanding (excluding shares issuable if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of our Class A common stock from us). The relative magnitude of the change in shares of Class A common stock outstanding and shares of Class A common stock issuable upon redemption of LLC Units decreases as the per share price moves further away from the midpoint.
To the extent that options or other securities are issued under our equity incentive plans, or we issue additional shares of our Class A common stock or securities convertible into Class A common stock in the future, there will be further dilution to investors participating in this offering. In addition, we may choose to raise additional capital because of market conditions or strategic considerations, even if we believe that we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans. If we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible securities, the issuance of these securities could result in further dilution to our stockholders.
 
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UNAUDITED PRO FORMA CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
The unaudited pro forma consolidated balance sheet as of September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020 and the unaudited pro forma consolidated statements of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 and the year ended December 31, 2020 present our consolidated financial position and results of operations after giving pro forma effect to:
(1)
the acquisition of Orange142, as if such transaction had occurred on January 1, 2021 for the unaudited pro forma consolidated statement of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2020;
(2)
the acquisition of Orange142, as if such transaction had occurred on January 1, 2020 for the unaudited pro forma consolidated statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020;
(3)
the Organizational Transactions described under the section titled “Organizational Transactions,” as if such transactions occurred on September 30, 2021 for the unaudited pro forma consolidated balance sheet as of September 30, 2021 and on January 1, 2021 for the unaudited pro forma consolidated statement of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2020; and
(4)
the Organizational Transactions described under the section titled “Organizational Transactions,” as if such transactions occurred on December 31, 2020 for the unaudited pro forma consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2020 and on January 1, 2020 for the unaudited pro forma consolidated statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Our historical consolidated financial information has been derived from the consolidated audited and unaudited financial statements of DDH LLC and its subsidiaries and accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. Direct Digital Holdings was incorporated on August 23, 2021 and will have no material assets or results of operations until the completion of this offering. Therefore, its historical financial information is not included in the unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information.
The unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information has been prepared on the basis that we will be taxed as a corporation for U.S. federal and state income tax purposes and, accordingly, will become a taxpaying entity subject to U.S. federal, state and foreign income taxes. The unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information was prepared in accordance with Article 11 of SEC Regulation S-X. See the accompanying notes to the Unaudited Pro Forma Consolidated Financial Information for a discussion of assumptions made.
The unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information is not necessarily indicative of financial results that would have been attained had the described transactions occurred on the dates indicated above or that could be achieved in the future. The unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information also does not give effect to the potential impact of any anticipated synergies, operating efficiencies or cost savings that may result from the transactions or any integration costs that result from the Organizational Transactions or any costs that do not have a continuing impact. Future results may vary significantly from the results reflected in the unaudited pro forma consolidated statements of operations and should not be relied on as an indication of our results after the consummation of this offering and the other transactions contemplated by such unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information. However, our management believes that the assumptions provide a reasonable basis for presenting the significant effects of the transactions as contemplated and that the pro forma adjustments give appropriate effect to those assumptions and are properly applied in the unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information.
As a public company, we will be implementing additional procedures and processes for the purpose of addressing the standards and requirements applicable to public companies. We expect to incur additional annual expenses related to these steps and, among other things, additional directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, director fees, costs to comply with the reporting requirements of the SEC, transfer agent fees, hiring of additional accounting, legal and administrative personnel, increased auditing and legal fees and similar expenses. We have not included any pro forma adjustments relating to these costs.
As described in greater detail under the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement,” in connection with the consummation of this offering, we will
 
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enter into the Tax Receivable Agreement with DDH LLC and the Continuing LLC Owners that will provide for the payment by Direct Digital Holdings to such Continuing LLC Owners of 85% of the amount of tax benefits, if any, that Direct Digital Holdings actually realized, or in certain circumstances is deemed to realize (calculated using certain assumptions) as a result of (i) increases in the tax basis of assets of DDH LLC resulting from (a) any future redemptions or exchanges of LLC Units described above under “— The Offering — Class B common stock exchange rights,” and (b) payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement and (ii) certain other tax benefits arising from payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement. Actual tax benefits realized by Direct Digital Holdings may differ from tax benefits calculated under the Tax Receivable Agreement as a result of the use of certain assumptions in the Tax Receivable Agreement, including the use of an assumed weighted-average state and local income tax rate to calculate tax benefits. This payment obligation is an obligation of Direct Digital Holdings but not of DDH LLC. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions — Tax Receivable Agreement.”
If we ever generate sufficient taxable income to utilize the tax benefits from the Organizational Transactions, we expect to benefit from the remaining 15% of cash savings, if any, that we realize. We do not expect to record a liability under the Tax Receivable Agreement as a result of the Organizational Transactions and the purchase of newly issued LLC Units from DDH LLC with a portion of the net proceeds from this offering. This is because the purchase of the LLC Units will not result in a taxable transaction, and we currently expect to record a full valuation allowance against the deferred tax asset created through the purchase of the LLC Units. Due to the uncertainty in the amount and timing of future redemptions or exchanges of LLC Units by the Continuing LLC Owners and purchases of LLC Units from the Continuing LLC Owners, the unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information assumes that no future redemptions or exchanges or purchases of LLC Units have occurred and therefore no increases in tax basis in the DDH LLC assets or other tax benefits that may be realized thereunder have been assumed in the unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information. However, if the Continuing LLC Owners were to redeem or exchange or sell us all of their LLC Units, we would recognize a deferred tax asset of approximately $35.6 million and a liability under the Tax Receivable Agreement of approximately $30.3 million, assuming: (i) all exchanges or purchases occurred on the same day; (ii) a price of $8.00 per share of Class A common stock (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus); (iii) a constant corporate tax rate of 21%; (iv) that we will have sufficient taxable income to utilize the tax benefits of our estimated deferred tax asset and (v) no material changes in tax law. For each 5% increase (decrease) in the amount of LLC Units exchanged by or purchased from the Continuing LLC Unitholders (or their transferees of LLC Units or other assignees), our deferred tax asset would increase (decrease) by approximately $(1.8) million and the related liability would increase (decrease) by approximately $(1.5) million, assuming that the price per share of Class A common stock and corporate tax rate remain the same.
For each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $8.00 per share of Class A common stock, our deferred tax asset would increase (decrease) by approximately $5.3 million and the related liability would increase (decrease) by approximately $4.5 million, assuming that the number of LLC Units exchanged by or purchased from the Continuing LLC Unitholders (or their transferees of LLC Units and other assignees) and the corporate tax rate remain the same. These amounts are estimates and have been prepared for illustrative purposes only. The actual amount of deferred tax assets and liabilities under the Tax Receivable Agreement that we will recognize will differ based on, among other things, the timing of the exchanges and purchases, the price of our shares of Class A common stock at the time of the exchange or purchase, our ability to utilize the tax benefits from the Organizational Transactions, and the tax rates then in effect. The unaudited pro forma consolidated financial information should be read together with the sections titled “Risk Factors,” “Organizational Transactions,” “Capitalization,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the audited consolidated financial statements of DDH LLC and related notes thereto as well as the interim unaudited consolidated financial statements of DDH LLC and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this prospectus.
Effective September 30, 2020, we acquired 100% of the equity interests of Orange142 valued at $26.2 million to further bolster the overall buy-side advertising platform and enhance our offerings across multiple industry verticals such as travel, healthcare, education, financial services, consumer products, etc. with particular emphasis on small- and mid-sized businesses transitioning into digital with growing digital media budgets. The total purchase price of $26.2 million was funded by a combination of cash, issuance of member common units, mandatorily redeemable preferred units, a facility term note and a revolving credit
 
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facility (see Notes 3, 5 and 6 to the consolidated financial statements). The acquisition was accounted for using the acquisition method of accounting and, accordingly, the consolidated statements of operations includes the results of operations of Orange142 beginning September 30, 2020.
The acquisition of Orange142 was recorded by allocating the total purchase consideration to the fair value of the net tangible assets acquired, including goodwill and intangible assets in accordance with FASB Accounting Codification Standard (“ASC”) 805, Business Combinations (“ASC 805”). The purchase consideration exceeded the fair value of the net assets resulting in goodwill of $4.1 million and intangible assets of $18.0 million. Intangible assets consist of $13.0 million of 10-year amortizable customer relationships, $3.5 million of 10-year amortizable trademarks and tradenames, and $1.5 million of 5-year amortizable non-compete agreements. We record the amortization expense on a straight-line basis over the life of the identifiable intangible assets.
The tables below present our historical results of operations of DDH LLC, the historical results of operations of Orange142, the Orange142 acquisition and Organizational Transactions pro forma adjustments assuming the Orange142 acquisition and Organizational Transactions occurred on the dates indicated above:
 
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September 30, 2020
December 31, 2020
Direct Digital
Holdings, LLC
(unaudited)
Orange142, LLC
(unaudited)
Pro forma
adjustments for
the Orange142
acquisition
(unaudited)
Notes
Pro Forma, as
adjusted, for the
Orange142
acquisition and
Organizational
Transactions
(unaudited)
Direct Digital
Holdings, LLC
Orange142, LLC
Pro forma
adjustments for
the Orange142
acquisition
(unaudited)
Notes
Pro Forma, as
adjusted, for the
Orange142
acquisition and
Organizational
Transactions
(unaudited)
Revenues
Buy-side advertising
$ 4,377,708 $ 17,938,081 $
$22,315,789
$ 9,656,165 $ 17,938,081 $ $ 27,594,246
Sell-side advertising
1,498,300
1,498,300
2,821,354 2,821,354
Total revenues
5,876,008 17,938,081
23,814,089
12,477,519 17,938,081 30,415,600
Cost of revenues
Buy-side advertising
2,836,035 5,267,463
8,103,498
4,864,234 5,267,463 10,131,697
Sell-side advertising
1,350,083
1,350,083
2,440,975 2,440,975
Total cost of revenues
4,186,118 5,267,463
9,453,581
7,305,209 5,267,463 12,572,672
Gross profit
1,689,890 12,670,618
14,360,508
5,172,310 12,670,618 17,842,928
Operating expenses