Event management software firm Cvent became a publically traded firm this morning, with Founder and CEO Reggie Aggarwal ringing the opening bell on the New York Stork Exchange to celebrate the momentous step.
The 14-year-old company sold 5.6 million shares at $21 a share in its initial public offering (IPO), more than 10 percent above the expected range, raising $118 million. An hour and a quarter after the 10 am opening bell, the stock was over valued at $34, up more than 60 percent, a result that Yahoo Finance termed “a knockout.” Earlier the price rose as high as $39.28, which meant the company was valued at more than $1.5 billion.
Cvent says its cloud-based software is used by 187,000 event planners and hoteliers worldwide, and was used to manage 139,000 meetings and events in 2012. More than 200,000 hotels and venues are listed on the Cvent Supplier Network.
“Any great enterprise is born of three things,” says Chuck Ghoorah, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, speaking by phone from the NYSE. “First you need an idea, second you need passionate people and third you need capital. You need all three of those to be successful. Today was about raising capital to develop more products for our customers, and deliver more value to our customers over time.”
While Ghoorah is not able to talk about specific plans due to the “quiet period” legal requirements following an IPO, he did say that Cvent looks at becoming a publically traded company “as a new start line.”
“We acquired two mobile app companies last year and we really want to invest in that space because we see a pivot in the marketplace where attendees are now showing up at the meeting planner’s door with pitchforks and torches, demanding event-specific mobile apps,” Ghoorah says. “For the first 13 years of the company, our event management tool solved planners’ pain points, and we still of course do that. But what’s happening now is our customers’ customers, the attendees, are helping to drive the use of meetings technology. [Attendees] hate carrying around that three-ring binder, [their] meeting room gets switched and [their] itinerary changes, and [they] are like, ‘wow, wouldn’t it have been great if this was all on my iPhone or tablet.’ It’s a very attainable value proposition for the attendee.”
Another reason for the IPO, Ghoorah adds, is that as Cvent targets more enterprise clients, being a publically traded company is a “compelling argument in having them select us as their event management platform. [They] know that we have the capital to develop products that large enterprises need, that we have the capital to be able to support them on a global basis, and they know that we’re an organization that’s there for the long haul, so they can standardize on our system with confidence.”
Ghoorah adds that the next steps are the same as the last steps. “Build world-class products, service them with our great, customer-friendly employees, and continue to deliver value to the customers. Just because we’re public the game plan doesn’t change. What got us to this point is listening to our customers, hearing their pain, and then being the aspirin to that pain point.”