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Croatian Tech Firm That Makes Uber Calls Private Weighs U.S. IPO

Rodrigo Orihuela

(Bloomberg) -- Infobip, a Croatian technology company that counts Uber Technologies Inc. and Burger King among its clients, is weighing an initial public offering in New York as it makes plans to expand in the U.S.

A public listing “is something that we are discussing at the moment," Silvio Kutic, co-founder and chief executive officer of Infobip, said in a phone interview. “We are constantly thinking, checking, when to go in this direction and maybe in the next few months, half a year, a year, there shall be a decision."

The company provides corporations with technology to send notifications to customers through different channels, such as WhatsApp or text message. In March, the company said Uber is using its technology to mask contact details when drivers and riders communicate. The company’s customers also include Vodafone Group Plc, Costco Wholesale Corp. and Zendesk Inc.

Founded in 2006, Infobip has some 1,750 employees who helped generated about 435 million euros ($485 million) in revenue in 2018, according to Kutic. Employees own 10% of the shares, with the rest shared among the company’s three founders.

“We had about 30% annual revenue growth in the last two years and this year we are even accelerating," Kutic said. Demand for alerts from SMS phone messages are “still growing like crazy globally."

The sector is highly fragmented. Infobip has strong domestic rivals in countries such as China and Brazil, but the largest is U.S.-focused Twilio Inc.

Infobip is planning to take on San Francisco-based Twilio in its home market, where it sees most scope for growth. The company bolstered its presence in recent months in the U.S. by opening an office in New York, it’s second in the country, and after acquiring assets from Ericsson AB.

“We are now preparing for our big push,” Kutic said. "Today, about 35% of our revenue comes from U.S.-based customers, but these are the digital native companies from Silicon Valley, who operate with us internationally."

The U.S. is also where Kutic, who owns the majority of the shares together with two other partners, would someday like to see his company trading.

"For IT companies, there is much more liquidity and better exposure" on U.S. exchanges, he said. "It would be the crown on our works."

To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Madrid at rorihuela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Amy Thomson

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