Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Chuck Ghoorah’s name. This version has been corrected.
McLean-based Cvent, the maker of event management software, raised $117.6 million in an initial public offering on Friday, money that the company plans to use to expand its business globally and develop mobile products.
The company listed its shares on the market at $21 a piece, $2 above its previously estimated range of $17 to $19 per share. The stock closed 56.8 percent higher at $32.92 per share.
Cvent now trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CVT.”
The public offering comes at a time when the stock market has been more hospitable to such transactions. The first six months of the year saw 96 companies go public, up 23 percent from 78 companies in the first half of last year, according to a July report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Investors have bemoaned that the opportunities to go public at a favorable valuation have been scarce and less predictable since the economic downturn. But Cvent co-founder Chuck Ghoorah said executives take a “10-year view” of the business rather than focusing on current market conditions.
“We’ve been at this 14 years, and we’re not about timing the market,” Ghoorah said. “We felt that this was the right time to do it because of the maturity and scale of the business.”
Cvent was the second Washington area company to go public last week. Blacksburg-based Intrexon, a life sciences company that also has offices in Germantown, collected $160 million in an initial public offering Thursday. That company also trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “XON.”
Cvent’s IPO marks yet another milestone of success for the 14-year-old company as it has sought to rebuild after the dot-com bust in the early 2000s forced Cvent to lay off a large swath of its staff and nearly close its doors entirely.
Chief executive Reggie Aggarwal said Friday the money will help Cvent continue its expansion into international markets, particularly Europe and Asia. The firm opened an office in London earlier this year and already maintains operations in India.
Cvent also counts roughly 180,000 users in 100 countries, Aggarwal said, giving the company’s an expansive reach. But with thousands of events being planned in any given city at any given time, there’s still ample room for growth, he said.
“We see that each country has its own set of needs, and that’s one of the reasons you have to localize the software to the country you’re in,” Aggarwal said.
The firm also plans to continue its investment in mobile. Cvent acquired two companies last year, Portland-based CrowdCompass and Austin-based CrowdTorch, that create mobile applications for professional and personal events, respectively.
“There’s been a big transformation in the meetings and events space, and we want to make sure we have the right capital to take advantage of the opportunities,” Aggarwal said.
That transformation, executives said, is being driven largely by consumers who want to use the smartphones in their pockets while attending industry conferences, concerts or other gatherings.
“You’re tired of carrying around the spiral-bound binder that as soon as you get it and your schedule changes, the thing is out of date,” said Ghoorah, who is also executive vice president of sales and marketing. “They’re demanding no more of this paper stuff.”
Having the capital to chase new business opportunities stands in stark contrast to an earlier chapter in Cvent’s history. Ten years ago, the firm had exhausted the $17 million it raised from investors in its infancy, only to find little appetite for further investments when the Internet bubble burst.
Aggarwal and a team of executives, many of whom remain with Cvent, spent the next decade diligently adding customers and expanding the company’s software offerings without reaching back into investors’ pockets.
The company finally raised money again in July 2011, collecting $136 million in a round led by New Enterprise Associates and Insight Venture Partners. Now, the company is taking in $117.6 million more after its stock offering.
“This is a great day to be excited, to smell the roses, but on Monday, we’re going to get back to building meeting technology tools and serving our customers,” Aggarwal said.
Price per share at the start of trading.
Total amount, in millions, raised in the public offering.