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MuleSoft stock soars after latest tech unicorn IPO

March 17, 2017 View comment (1)

Enterprise tech company MuleSoft made its debut on the public markets Friday, pricing shares at $17—above its announced range of $14 to $16—and raising $221 million in the process. The stock opened for public trading at $24.40, up 44%, and closed Friday at $24.75, giving the company a market cap of just over $3 billion.

Founded in 2006, MuleSoft provides an integration platform for connecting applications, data sources and APIs, servicing companies in industries such as financial services, government, education and healthcare. It achieved revenues of $187.7 million in 2016, up 70% from 2015. While the company still lost $49.6 million last year, that number is notably lower than the $65.4 million in net losses posted in 2015. MuleSoft boasts 1,071 customers that pay an average of $143,000 in subscription costs as of last year, up from 839 customers paying an average of $105,000 in 2015.

The year's first enterprise tech IPO

The warm public market welcome MuleSoft received is notable largely because the IPO marks the first large enterprise tech public offering this year. AppDynamics was set to claim that crown in January before Cisco, in a surprise move, swooped in at the last minute to acquire the company for $3.7 billion. With that gauge taken away, the tech industry was left to wonder about the public market’s appetite for enterprise. That curiosity seems to have been, at least partially, satisfied.

VC's big winners

MuleSoft had raised about $260 million in equity funding, which includes a $128 million round in 2015 at a valuation of $1.5 billion. VC backers include Lightspeed Venture Partners (17% pre-IPO stake), Hummer Winblad Venture Partners (15.7%) and New Enterprise Associates (14.2%).

If Lightspeed Venture Partners rings a bell, it’s probably because the firm was one of the largest VC shareholders in Snap prior to the camera company’s IPO last month. Lightspeed was also an investor in AppDynamics and Nutanix, which completed its public offering last September.

Exit outlook

Although 2016 was a notably slow year for tech IPOs, it seems this year is shaping up to be much better. Eyes now turn to the herd of unicorns stabled in the private markets, waiting for the right time to take the plunge. Just this past week another enterprise tech unicorn, Okta, filed for its own public offering. Perhaps more will follow suit in the coming months. IPOs have generally lagged M&A in regards to VC exits recently, but we may be in the beginning stages of a shift.

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