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ON24: Yet Another SaaS Company Eying IPO

Posted on Friday, Jun 29th 2012

According to a research conducted on virtual events, analysts have found that during the past year, more than 60% of marketers increased spending on such events. The survey revealed that the majority of businesses have never hosted a virtual event, and only 28% of those surveyed were comfortable with hosting one. The overall size of the virtual events market has not been clearly established. According to a recent study by the Virtual Edge Institute, from 2010-2015, marketers will have spent nearly $18.6 billion on virtual events.

ON24’s Financials
San Francisco–based ON24 began in 1998 and is a provider of cloud-based webcasting and virtual communications solutions. ON24 was co-founded by Sharat Sharan in 1998. Initially named Newsource, the company began as a distribution center for Internet-based video press releases. The company soon shifted its focus to financial news releases and concentrated its efforts on building a robust webcasting platform.

ON24’s offerings help to deliver effective communication to an organization’s employees, clients, potential customers, and partners. The company has more than 750 organizations as customers, with names like IBM, Cisco, CA Technologies, Merck, and AstraZeneca to boast of.

Its Webcasting Platform 10 is a SaaS-based offering that lets presenters and audiences access webcasts from any browser. It offers a premium edition of the platform that comes with self-service solutions that let users set up professional-quality webcasts and webinars in simple steps. It also has a full-service option that includes professional services for webcasting and is more expensive.

In addition, it offers Virtual Show and Virtual Briefing Center services that provide a suite of interactive networking tools such as chat sessions, message boards, and even social media interaction that help attendees connect with organizations. Organizations can use ON24’s library of templates to create interactive and engaging video shows for potential customers.

ON24 does not publish the price range for its services. Some basic services are available free on a trial basis to organizations. When I spoke with co-founder Sharan a few years ago, he explained the company charges nearly $60,000 for the self-service webcasting option, and prices for the full service option are nearly 30-35% higher. Back in 2008, its virtual shows were  $20,000-$50,000 per show. According to analysts, ON24’s revenues for 2010 grew 20% over the year previous year to $50 million. It was expecting to report revenues of $75 million by the end of the previous year. ON24 has been profitable since 2006.

To date, ON24 has raised more than $46 million in VC funding. Investors include US Venture Partners, Canaan Partners, and Rho Management. Analysts believe that ON24 may be eying an IPO in the near future. Details of the planned offering have been neither confirmed nor denied by the management.

ON24’s International Growth
Over the past few years, ON24 has expanded internationally. Earlier this month, it tied up with BT Conferencing that will let BT Conferencing resell its entire suite of virtual communications solutions. The move will help it to establish stronger presence in the UK and European markets. It also recently acquired Madrid-based IMASTE, the largest virtual events company in Europe. IMASTE also has a strong presence in Latin America and has customers such as Accenture, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, and The Economist.

In 2011, ON24 generated 10-20% of revenue from international operations. It also opened offices in London and Singapore as part of an international expansion plan. In the next couple of years, ON24 plans to double its international revenue.

This segment is a part in the series : ON24

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