Matthew Prince of CloudFlare.
Shares of Cloudflare skyrocketed more than 24% in its first day of trading on the public market on Friday. The company opened trading at $18 after it priced its IPO at $15 a share on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the company raised its IPO price range to between $12 and $14 per share, up from its previous range of $10 to $12 per share. The company offered more than 35 million shares for sale, raising $525 million in the process.
In an interview following the debut, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said the company chose to pursue an IPO once it was clear that its size and scale warranted the move. Many of the most-watched tech IPOs have been off to a rough start so far this year, with Uber, Lyft and Slack all down significantly since their debuts.
“When a company gets to a certain scale and a certain size…you owe it to your employees and investors to run the company as a public company, so you might as well be a public company,” he said.
Cloudflare provides cloud-based network services to enterprises, helping them distribute their content and keep it available online. In the company’s initial prospectus, Cloudflare reported a $36.8 million net loss on $129.2 million in revenue for the first half of 2019, with revenues up 48% and losses up 13% from the same period a year ago. It counted 74,873 paying customers as of the first half of 2019, including companies like IBM, the chat service Discord and Zendesk.
The company has been in the spotlight for its involvement in several controversies. Earlier this year, it moved to pull the plug on controversial internet forum 8chan, after it was discovered that the site was used by the El Paso shooter to post an anti-immigrant and anti-government screen. In 2017, the company ended service with neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer following the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The web security company will trade New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NET.” Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan led Cloudflare’s IPO.