The Cloud

Cloudflare Shares Jump 20% in Market Debut

The company is the latest in the enterprise IT space to have a strong first day of trading.
Matthew HellerSeptember 16, 2019

Cloudflare has become the latest enterprise IT company to make a splash on its Wall Street debut after raising about $525 million in its initial public offering.

Shares in Cloudflare, which provides security, content delivery and other services to web and internet businesses, closed at $18 on the first day of trading Friday, up 20% from the $15 offering price.

More than 35 million shares were traded during the session. With 293.3 million shares outstanding, Cloudflare has a market cap of about $5.3 billion.

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“There’s nothing investors like more than a new cloud-software company,” Barron’s said.

The Wall Street Journal noted that there has been “a slew of IPOs in the information-technology space [this year], fueled by more corporate spending on cloud computing and strong stock-market debuts.”

In other big market debuts, videoconferencing company Zoom Video Communications’ shares soared 81% above its IPO price on its first trading day in April while Health Catalyst, which develops AI-powered software for hospitals and healthcare companies, also traded well above its projected price in its first day of trading in July.

According to its prospectus, Cloudflare has built “a global cloud platform that delivers a broad range of network services to businesses of all sizes and in all geographies — making them more secure, enhancing the performance of their business-critical applications, and eliminating the cost and complexity of managing individual network hardware.”

The company’s revenue has grown from $84.8 million in 2016 to $134.9 million in 2017 and to $192.7 million in 2018, increases of 59% and 43%, respectively. Total paying customers have more than doubled from 35,000 at the end of 2016 to 75,000 as of June 20, 2019.

But its losses have also mounted, reaching $87.2 million last year as it spent heavily on marketing and R&D.

While such spending is not unusual for early-stage companies, Cloudflare’s “cost of revenue and general and administrative costs … are also growing rapidly” and it “will need to find a way to reverse these trends in order to achieve profitability,” Forbes said.