In the first big cybersecurity IPO of the year, Okta has officially hit the public market on Friday, looking to raise US$187 million at a US$1.5 billion valuation.
Okta announced late Thursday that it would price its 11,000,000 shares of common stock at US$17 per share, above the company's earlier expectations of between US$13 and US$15 per share. Okta will now trade on the NASDAQ as "OKTA." The company's shares jumped more than 35 percent in its first few hours of trading, up to around US$23 per share.
— Frederic Kerrest (@fkerrest) April 7, 2017
The launch comes after months of IPO rumors, denials and even reports that the company was seeking a buyer last year. Okta's platform focuses on identity and access management for cloud applications, but the startup has also expanded into mobile device management, two-factor authentication, and application development and API security.
Okta has been a high-flier in the security market, landing US$75 million in venture capital funding in September 2015 at a US$1.2 billion valuation. The company has raised US$228.5 million to date.
In its S-1 filing last month, Okta said it would put the proceeds of the IPO towards "working capital and other general corporate purposes," including customer growth, customer relationships, expanding internationally, expanding integrations, product development, and leveraging data and analytics. Okta said it might also use the IPO funds for acquisitions, building on the company's March acquisition of Stormpath.
Okta also revealed mounting losses in its S-1 filing, with losses of US$76.3 million in 2016 and US$59.1 million in 2015. Sales were US$85.9 million in 2016, up 109 percent from US$41 million in 2015. Okta said it expects those losses to continue, saying "we have a history of losses, and we expect to incur losses for the foreseeable future."
The IPO is the first cybersecurity IPO of the year and the second enterprise software company to go public, following on the heels of the March IPO of MuleSoft, a company that offers integration software for applications, data, and services.
Other companies have filed for IPOs, or been rumored to, but have not followed through to the public market. Optiv Security filed for an IPO in November 2016, Dell SecureWorks filed in April 2016, and Blue Coat Systems filed in June 2016. Optiv and Blue Coat were acquired instead of going public, the former by private equity firm KKR and the latter by Symantec. Carbon Black and LogRhythm are two other enterprise security companies that are reportedly looking to go public.