October 17, 2017 / 10:56 AM / 2 years ago

Veritone CEO expects to tap equity market for funds in 2018

(Reuters) - Veritone Inc is considering raising more capital through the equity market next year, as it seeks to buy several companies to bolster its artificial intelligence platform, Chief Executive Chad Steelberg told Reuters.

Shares of the company fell as much as 4.6 pct in morning trading on the Nasdaq.

The company, which offers an AI platform that can analyze unstructured media data, is looking at several options both from the public and private market, Steelberg said, although he stressed that Veritone had no immediate plans.

Veritone’s shares, launched on Nasdaq in May of this year, surged to five times their initial value last month, helped by coverage from research house Barron, which in August listed them as among AI stocks to watch.

The company, headed by former Google executive Steelberg, already boasts CNBC, Taco Bell, and iHeart Radio among its portfolio of customers. Veritone had revenue of about $4 million in the latest quarter but its market valuation is about $542 million.

“We anticipate making several acquisitions and integrating them and we will be back in the capital market to continue to fund the company on its next stage of growth,” Steelberg told Reuters in a phone interview.

“I would say in 2018 we will be back in the equity market, (but) no immediate plans. However, again, the primary reason for going public was to create that currency to allow (us) to make those initial acquisitions.”

He also said Veritone expects to receive FedRAMP clearance from the U.S. government, a key approval for cloud companies to get official contracts, by the summer of next year.

Veritone expects a significant portion of its revenue in 2018 to come from international markets, Steelberg said.

Last week, the Newport, California company said it entered a partnership with FOX Sports Brazil, expanding its presence to the Latin American market.

Analysts say Veritone’s shares, which have traded between $7.76 and $74.92 in the past few months, have been volatile partly due to a lack of liquidity as a majority of its 15 million issued shares are currently locked up by insiders.

“The opportunity in front of Veritone isn’t why we have only grown at 3x, the bigger question is to why we haven’t grown by 10 times or more, in terms of stock price,” Steelberg said.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham, Bernard Orr

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