Silicon Valley got some IPO buzz Thursday after cloud-based communications platform specialist Twilio started trading on the New York Stock Exchange and recorded a 91.9% leap in value on day one.
Twilio's IPO saw it raise $150 million from the sale of 10 million shares at $15 each, a price that gave the company a valuation of about $1 billion. The stock, which has the ticker symbol TWLO, opened Thursday morning at $23.66 and closed the day at $28.79, up an extraordinary 91.9%.
To mark the start of its life as a public company, Twilio Inc. (NYSE: TWLO) founder and CEO Jeff Lawson rang the opening bell to start the day's trading and a team of developers created three new apps, built on the company's cloud apps platform, from the NYSE trading floor. (See this blog for more on that.)
Lawson's company, which raised more than $230 million since it was founded in 2007, has built a platform-as-a-service business based around global cloud resources that enable companies, using Twilio APIs, to add communications capabilities (voice, messaging, video) to their own applications and/or web services and have those comms tools work anywhere in the world without having to build out their own distribution network. Twilio customers include the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Hulu, Coca-Cola and many more major firms from multiple industry verticals.
The company, though, has yet to turn a profit. In 2015 it generated revenues of $167 million and reported an operating loss of $35.4 million. But its sales are increasing and losses shrinking: In the first quarter of 2016, Twilio's revenues hit $59.3 million, up 78% year-on-year, while its operating loss shrank to $6.4 million from $8.8 million a year earlier. At the end of March 2016, the company had 28,648 active user accounts, up from 25,347 at the end of 2015.
Twilio's highly successful IPO looks likely to be a catalyst for other tech startups to explore a listing on the public exchanges, though much of the financial activity in 2016 has involved acquisitions rather than public offerings and that trend doesn't look likely to end any time soon.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading