ExactTarget Back in the IPO Pipeline

This is the sort of company that makes covering the IPO market interesting. ExactTarget, which is in the email marketing business, just filed to go public.

It’s looking to raise $100 mn in fresh capital. The move comes after it abandoned IPO plans in 2009, as the financial crisis slammed the IPO window shut hard.

The Indianapolis Business Journal notes that ExactTarget is a tech company following in the footsteps ofGroupon and Angie’s List in what has become 2011’s IPO market second wind. The reality, however, is much different. ExactTarget is exciting because it is useful and has real revenues. Yes, it’s posting a widening loss, and that’s a problem (as we saw with Jive Software, among others), but the company’s service offering isn’t vapid.

Let’s take a look at the financials. ExactTarget posted YOY revenue growth of 55 percent for the first nine months of 2011, hitting $148 mn. Meanwhile, net loss stretched from $6 mn to $29.3 mn.

There’s a reason for this, though. According to IBJ, ‘ExactTarget has been investing with abandon to innovate, build market share and expand overseas.’ This will pay off down the road. In the past two years, IBJ continues, ExactTarget has made three acquisitions, added 500 employees and launched operations in the UK and Australia.

Also, the product is solid. Yes, this matters. In addition to providing a rich email marketing environment, ExactTarget has expanded into social media (not uncommon in the email marketing world). With US email, mobile and social media marketing spend projected to reach $15.7 bn in 2016 (from $4.8 bn in 2011), ExactTarget has plenty of room to grow.

We’re still in the early stages of the ExactTarget IPO process, and this will be a fun one to watch. Battery Ventures and Scale Venture Partners, the company’s venture capital investors, stand to benefit from the exit. The lead underwriters are JP MorganStifel and Deutsche Bank.