The Cloud

Twilio’s Splashy Debut Fuels Hopes of IPO Revival

The cloud computing company's shares soared 90% on their first day of trading, giving it a market cap that is more than double its private valuation.
Matthew HellerJune 24, 2016

Cloud computing company Twilio broke the tech IPO drought with a bang, surging on its first day of trading to a public market capitalization of $2.4 billion that is more than double its private valuation.

Shares in the high-growth tech unicorn soared 90% on Thursday from the initial offering price of $15, closing at $28.53. Investors valued Twilio at $1.03 billion during its last private funding round in 2015, while the IPO pricing gave it a market value of $1.23 billion.

The successful public-market debut made Twilio the largest of four tech IPOs this year. There have been just 40 IPOs priced in the United States this year, down 54% from a year ago, reflecting concerns that stock-market buyers wouldn’t value the businesses as high as their private valuations.

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“That initial success could persuade wary Wall Street investors to consider more IPOs after a volatile market, interest-rate uncertainty and steep declines in venture funding all but smothered the notion,” USA Today said.

A limited number of shares were sold, with existing investor T. Rowe Price scooping up many of them, but Twilio still raised $150 million through the offering. It is the first IPO to price above its proposed range since Atlassian, another tech unicorn, debuted in December 2015.

“The valuation disconnect between private market and the public market has chilled IPO activity, but today, IPO investors showed they were willing to pay up for growth,” Matthew Kennedy, an analyst at Renaissance Capital, told the Los Angeles Times.

Twilio’s software allows developers incorporate voice and text message services into their applications and its customers include Uber, Nordstrom, Box, and Coca-Cola. It reported sales of $166.9 million in 2015, up from $88.8 million in 2014, but posted a net loss of $35.5 million.

Tom Farley, president of the New York Stock Exchange, attributed the first-day stock surge to a successful roadshow, the company’s roadmap for growth, and a market that has stabilized after a bout of volatility.

“Investors were looking at a strategically attractive company producing financially attractive amounts,” he told MarketWatch.

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