London-based technology start-up Shazam, which offers a mobile music identification service, has appointed a former Yahoo vice-president as its new chief executive, in order to prepare for the next stage of growth and an initial public offering (IPO).
Rich Riley, who has also previously worked as a Wall Street analyst, joins Shazam with more than 17 years experience as an entrepreneur and Internet executive. He was featured by Fortune magazine as one of their "40 Under 40: Ones to watch" in 2011.
"I look forward to extending our dominance in media engagement, from our roots in music to our leadership position in second-screen TV and want to ensure that Shazam is the company that helps people recognise and engage with the world around them," said Riley.
Riley told The Guardian that he aims to drive annual revenues into the "hundreds of millions of dollars", in order to justify a $1 billion-plus flotation as early as next year.
If Shazam decides to float in the UK, this could be a key turning point for the London Stock Exchange (LSE), which recently unveiled a new market segment for fast-growing companies in an effort to attract more technology IPOs.
Speaking at an event in London's Tech City last month, Marcus Stuttard, head of AIM at the LSE, called for "first movers" to build businesses at scale in the UK and encourage other high-growth companies to list there.
However, Riley will be based in Shazam's New York office, leading to speculation that the company might list on NASDAQ rather than the LSE.
In doing so, Shazam would follow in the footsteps of UK-based open source company Alfresco, which appointed former SuccessFactors president Doug Dennerline as its new chief executive in January to prepare for an IPO in the US.
Riley said that a decision is yet to be made on whether Shazam will list in the UK or the US. However, the US is now the company's biggest single source of revenue, and has provided much of its venture capital funding.
Meanwhile, Andrew Fisher, who has served as CEO of Shazam since 2005, will become Executive Chairman of the company.
"I will now spend more time focusing on our corporate development and future strategy including our ambitions to deliver a successful IPO for our shareholders as we look to become an increasingly important part of people's everyday lives," said Fisher.
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