After pricing at $27 per share, Datto’s stock rose during regular trading. By mid-afternoon the data and security software company was worth $28.10 per share, up a hair over 4%.
The company’s IPO comes on the back of a rapid-fire Q3 in which a host of technology companies, particularly software, made it to the public markets. While the number of un-exited unicorns in the United States still rose in the quarter, Q3 brought with it a wave of liquidity that felt long coming.
Datto’s IPO is one among what appears set to be a smaller Q4 class, though offerings like Airbnb and Affirm are still tipped to be coming in short order. Airbnb and Affirm each announced that they have filed privately to float, though have yet to publicly drop their S-1 filings.
While 2020 has brought with it many venture-backed IPOs, the year has also brought a nearly commensurate number of complaints about the IPO process itself. After many tech, and tech-ish, companies saw their values skyrocket after pricing and listing, vocal tech and venture figures argued that IPOs were effectively handing upside from companies to underwriting banks, and their customers.
There was some merit to the arguments. Datto, however, will not stoke similar fires. Up a mere few points from its IPO price, it was priced pretty much perfectly from the perspective of raising as much money as it could for itself in its debut.
Datto will use its IPO proceeds to pay down debts that it accrued during its takeover from Vista (private equity: a good deal for private equity). However, Datto’s CEO Tim Weller told TechCrunch in a call that the company will still be well-capitalized after the public offering, saying that it will have a very strong cash position.
The company should have places to deploy its remaining cash. In its S-1 filings, Datto highlighted a COVID-19 tailwind stemming from companies accelerating their digital transformation efforts. TechCrunch asked the company’s CEO whether there was an international component to that story, and whether digital transformation efforts are accelerating globally and not merely domestically. In a good omen for startups not based in the United States, the executive said that they were.
The company did not entertain a SPAC-led public debut, with Datto’s founder, Austin McChord, saying that his company had long planned a traditional public offering. Closing on the Vista front, McChord said that the removal of Vista’s Brian Sheth was immaterial to Datto’s IPO process.
Last night Datto priced its IPO at $27 per share, the top end of its range that TechCrunch covered last week. The data and security-focused software company had targeted a $24 to $27 per-share IPO price range, meaning that its final per-share value was at the top of its estimates.
The Datto IPO won’t draw lots of attention; its business is somewhat dull, as selling software to managed service providers rarely excites. But, the public offering matters for a different reason: it gives us a fresh lens into today’s IPO market.
That lens is the perspective of slower, more profitable growth. What is that worth?
The value of quickly-growing and unprofitable software and cloud companies is well known. Snowflake made a splash earlier this year on the back of huge growth and enormous losses. Investors ate its shares up, pushing its valuation to towering heights. And this year we’ve even seen rapid growth and profits valued by public investors in the form of JFrog’s IPO.
But slower growth, software margins and profitability? Datto’s financial picture feels somewhat unique among the IPOs that TechCrunch has covered this year.
It’s a similar bet to the one that Egnyte is making; the enterprise software company crested $100 million ARR last year and announced that it grew by around 22% in the first half of 2020. And, it is profitable on an EBITDA basis. Therefore, the Datto IPO could provide a clue as to what companies like Egnyte and the rest of the late-stage startup crop content to grow more slowly, but with the benefit of actually making money.
Here are the deal’s nuts and bolts:
The Vista Equity Partners -backed company was picked up by the private equity firm back in 2017. Vista is back in the news lately for several reasons, some stemming from executive shenanigans — read: tax evasion and huge penalties — but at least what’s coming from Datto’s camp is good tidings.
How so? Vista bought Datto for around $1.5 billion, and is set to make billions on its exit, based on the company’s expected IPO pricing.
Per the data firm’s latest S-1 filing, Datto is targeting a $24 to $27 per share price range. Here’s the math:
Those two final numbers are dramatically bigger than the $1.5 billion that Vista is said to have paid for Datto.
How has Datto managed to generate so much value in the last few years? In financial terms, the company grew to a run rate of around $500 million, based on its Q1 and Q2 2020 revenue results. That gives the company a revenue multiple of less than 10x at its current IPO price maximum.
And that price makes sense. Datto is not growing very quickly, just 16% from H1 2019 to H1 2020, for example. The company did recently become profitable, however, which helps its valuation case. But more importantly, between 2017 and 2020 we have seen revenue multiples for software companies expand. That, plus Datto’s growth since 2017, have repriced it far above its sale price.
For Vista, it’s good news. Provided that they don’t get into tax issues over this particular set of returns. More on Datto as it prices and debuts.