During a very muted period for tech IPOs, Trade Desk has just filed its papers to go public. Anyone familiar with the company knows it's been anything but quiet for them of late.
Trade Desk is in the crowded advertising technology market and is one of the main tools being used by the Republican Party as it tries to maintain its majority in the U.S. Senate. Candidates in tight races are employing Trade Desk's targeting tools to reach the precise voters who can potentially put them over the top.
Clients include U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire, who's in a close re-election battle against the state's Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri is using Trade Desk in his quest to fend off Secretary of State Jason Kander.
Richard Burr of North Carolina and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are in the same boat. In fact, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is itself a client.
CNBC.com used Ghostery, a browser plug-in that shows which ad programs are running on a website, to see who's using Trade Desk. Campaigns often hand their digital ad buying over to an agency rather than managing it themselves.
Trade Desk, which filed its prospectus on Monday, didn't disclose how much of its revenue comes from political campaigns. But investors certainly have to consider what happens to the growth rate next year and the years that follow.
Digital spending on political ads will quadruple in 2016 over the mid-term season of 2014, reaching $1 billion, according to eMarketer. Online ads will account for 9.8 percent of total ad spending this year, up from 3.6 percent in 2014 and 1.8 percent in 2012, the researcher said.
At Trade Desk, revenue in the first half of 2016 climbed 83 percent from the same period a year earlier to $77.6 million.