The Cloud

Cloud Software Firm Qualtrics Files for IPO

Qualtrics says its "experience management" solutions represent a “vast, rapidly growing, and underpenetrated market opportunity.”
Matthew HellerOctober 23, 2018

Cloud computing firm Qualtrics has filed for a $200 million initial public offering, citing a “vast, rapidly growing, and underpenetrated market opportunity” for its “experience management” software.

Qualtrics’ XM platform provides a range of tools including online surveys to help enterprises track customer and employee sentiment. According to the IPO prospectus, it is used by more than 9,000 customers globally, including more than 75% of the Fortune 100.

“Our mission is to help organizations deliver the experiences that turn their customers into fanatics, employees into ambassadors, brands into religions, and products into obsessions,” Qualtrics said.

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Cloud software IPOs have been popular with investors this year, with successful offerings from Anaplan, Dropbox, Docusign, Avalara, and Elastic after a lull in tech IPO activity in 2017.

Qualtrics, which is based in Utah, claims to have developed an entirely new software category for enterprises that have previously relied on customer relationship management and human capital management solutions.

“We believe that XM is more critical to improving customer experience than CRM, more influential upon employee experience than HCM systems, and more important to enhancing brand experience than Marketing Automation,” the company said.

“Consequently, we believe that XM represents a vast, rapidly growing, and underpenetrated market opportunity, and we estimate our total addressable market to be approximately $44 billion in 2018,” it added.

Qualtrics was founded in 2002 to develop software for the academic market. It has raised $400 million over its lifetime and investors include Accel, Insight Venture Partners, and Sequoia Capital.

CEO Ryan Smith, his brother and father own about 45% of the company, with voting control of 48.2%.

Qualtrics’ revenue rose 52% last year to $289.9 million and it turned a profit of $2.6 million after losing $12 million the previous year. Its competitors include Medallia, SurveyMonkey, and marketing research firms such as Aon Hewitt and Towers Watson.

“With the introduction of new technologies, the evolution of our solutions, and new market entrants, we expect competition to intensify in the future,” the prospectus said. “We also anticipate that potential competition may come in the future from incumbent software providers.”