Norway-based browser provider Opera Ltd. has filed papers for an initial public offering in the U.S. as it seeks an edge in the race to develop AI-powered tools for digital content discovery.
Opera, which is owned by a Chinese consortium, currently offers a web browser for desktop computers and a handful of web browsers for mobile phones, competing with tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
According to a preliminary prospectus, proceeds from the IPO would be used in part “to continue to strengthen our AI-driven content discovery and recommendation platform and overall product portfolio.”
“The browsers of today are transforming from web-browsing utilities into smarter products providing users with faster, easier, and more personalized access to internet content,” Opera said.
The company said it is aiming to “deliver more personalized content discovery” by developing AI-based apps that supplement its browser. Earlier this year, it launched Opera News App, its first standalone AI-powered news aggregation app.
“Since the launch of Opera News, we have experienced tremendous user growth with 90.2 million average MAUs [monthly active users] accessing Opera News in the three months ended March 31, 2018, an increase from 9.1 million average MAUs for the same period in 2017,” the prospectus said.
Overall, Opera said its browsers averaged 321.7 million MAUs in the first quarter ended March 31, with smartphone users increasing to 182.0 million from 160.0 million in the year-ago period and PC users up to 57.4 million from 42.6 million.
Operating revenue rose to $39.4 million in the quarter. Fees from Google, which pays Opera to serve as its default search engine in most of the world, accounted for 44.8% of revenue.
Opera’s consumer assets, which were then known as Opera Software, were acquired by the Chinese consortium in 2016. It said its browsers “are among the market leaders in high growth regions such as South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa in terms of market share,” but it faces “intense competition in all of the products and services we offer.”