Shutterstock Makes a Picture-Perfect IPO

An entrepreneur’s frustration turned into a great business

By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace Writer & IPO Playbook Editor

As a serial entrepreneur, Jon Oringer always had trouble getting high-quality photos at affordable prices. So he wondered: Might there be a business opportunity here?

He quickly found there was. Back in 2003, Oringer launched Shutterstock (NYSE:SSTK) and turned it into the leading marketplace for royalty-free images and videos. He has now taken the company public on the NYSE. In its first day trading, the shares are up 28%.

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“The IPO process was long and a lot of work,” said Oringer in an interview with IPO Playbook today. “But it was worth it.”

Shutterstock has over 550,000 active paying users and more than 35,000 approved contributors. “From the start, we have been a technology company,” he said. “We have focused on using every bit of data.”

All in all, the strategy has worked out quite well. From 2010 to 2011, revenues have gone from $83 million to $120.3 million. EBITDA came to about $26.5 million last year.

According to research from L.E.K. Consulting, Shutterstock’s addressable market is expected to go from $4 billion in 2011 to $6 billion in 2016. Yet this may be understated. Keep in mind that the company has plans to get more aggressive with video content.

“Our space is large,” said Oringer. “There are 70 million businesses in the world that could use our content.” That’s an opportunity worth pondering for investors.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook.”  Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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