Mar 22, 2021

App monetisation firm ironSource to go public at $11.1bn

SPAC
Mobile
apps
gaming
William Smith
2 min
ironSource, which develops technologies for the monetisation of mobile applications via advertising, is the latest to rely on a SPAC to go public
ironSource, which develops technologies for the monetisation of mobile applications via advertising, is the latest to rely on a SPAC to go public...

 

Tel Aviv, Israel-based software company ironSource has announced a plan to go public via a merger with Thoma Bravo Advantage.

Some of the biggest winners from the disruption of the last year have been in digital sectors such as gaming and apps. Accordingly, ironSource, which develops technologies for the monetisation of mobile applications via advertising, has experienced a bumper year. Its revenue grew by 83% year-over-year, reaching $332mn, for instance, prompting its efforts to go public.

Mobile games lead the way

The company particularly specialises in mobile games, which are the leading category of apps in terms of use. ironSource’s platform allows developers to analyse as well as monetise their applications, with the company claiming that 87 of the top 100 mobile games rely upon their solution.

Omer Kaplan, CRO and co-founder of ironSource, said: "Using our platform, game developers are able to unlock a flywheel of continuous growth, and since our business model is aligned with our customer's success, as they grow, we do too. While this cycle is most often leveraged by mobile games, it's easily transferable to apps outside of gaming.”

The merger with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is expected to close during the second quarter of this year, valuing ironSource at approximately $11.1bn, and unlocking $2.3bn in cash proceeds.

Orlando Bravo, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Thoma Bravo Advantage, said: "With a full suite of solutions across the app growth life cycle – and a unique combination of scale, business growth, and profitability – we expect ironSource to further its market leadership position as a public company. We look forward to partnering closely with Tomer and the talented ironSource team in this exciting next chapter for the company."

The rise of the SPAC

It’s the latest such example of a SPAC merger to take a technology company public and bypass the traditional IPO method. Recently we saw Biotech firm 23andMe announce it was going public via a merger with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group’s VG Acquisition Corp SPAC. That deal valued the company at approximately $3.5bn, with 23andMe describing the deal as allowing it access to the capital necessary to fund its growth

(Image: ironSource)

Share article

Jun 15, 2021

China Takes Additional Step to Control Big Tech’s Data

Data
China
Technology
Legal
Elise Leise
3 min
The Chinese government wants big tech companies like Tencent and Tiktok to hand over their immense stores of user information ─ and they’ll force it by law

China’s new Data Security Law will take effect on September 1st, allowing the government major control over the collection, use, and transmission of data. Tech companies have grown exponentially in terms of market size and overall power, and the Chinese government has no interest in alternative power hubs—especially those that belong to private enterprise. 

 

With its Thursday legislation, companies will face extravagant fines if they export data outside of China without authorisation. The Chinese government claims that this will create a legal framework and help companies from taking advantage of citizens, but according to analyst Ryan Fedasiuk from Georgetown University’s Centre for Security and Emerging Technology, “China’s push for data privacy...is yet another move to strengthen the role of the government and the party vis-à-vis tech companies.”

 

How Do Other Countries Approach Data Privacy? 

 

  • Europe: The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights assures EU citizens the right to data protection. The bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), passed in May of 2018, put stringent restrictions on commercial data collection. 
  • Canada: 28 federal, provincial, and territorial laws govern consumer data privacy; DLA Piper ranks the country’s data protection legislation as heavy, in comparison to Russia (medium) and India (limited). 
  • The United States: As usual, the States doesn’t have a single comprehensive federal law for data privacy. Instead, its lawmakers have passed hundreds of local and state acts, many of which are seen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

 

China, in contrast, thinks data should be a national asset and has written data collection into its five-year plan. Although its new legislation will help curtail private access to consumer data, the government may be the final beneficiary. 

 

What Will China Do With the Data? 

According to advisors, consumer data can mitigate financial crises and viral outbreaks. It can protect the interest of national security—no surprise—and help the government with criminal surveillance. Right now, Chinese regulators have summoned 13 major tech firms, including Tencent, JD.com, Meituan, and ByteDance, to meet with China’s central bank. Communist Party Chief President Xi Jinping can shut down any companies found violating the new privacy laws, as well as hit them with a fine of up to 10 million yuan—US$1.6mn

 

How Will Laws Affect Foreign Firms? 

Now, foreign firms must store data on Chinese soil, a practice that many companies protest will infringe on their proprietary data. So far, Tesla will comply: in late May, the electric car manufacturer promised to build more Chinese factories and keep the resulting information within Chinese borders. In fact, businesses hoping to start China-based businesses—such as Citigroup and BlackRock—will have to comply with the “data-localisation laws”. 

 

The Chinese government has framed data as a critical source of intelligence for the party and central government. “You have the most sufficient data, then you can make the most objective and accurate analyses”, Mr Xi told Tencent’s founder, Mr Ma. “The...suggestions to the government in this regard are very valuable”. 

 

Greater digital control is coming, that’s for sure. Mr Xi has named big data as an essential part of China’s economy, right up there with land and labour. “Whoever controls data will have the initiative”. 

Share article