Pivotal makes solid Wall Street debut, looks for long-term growth

After a modest first day of trading, Pivotal's CFO says the company is thinking long-term.

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Pivotal closed its first day on the New York Stock Exchange with shares modestly up from its list price of $15, trading at $15.40 at market close. That gives the company a market capitalization of $3.9 billion.

While Pivotal, under the ticker symbol PVTL, made less of a pop than other cloud companies that recently made their market debut, such as Zuora, Pivotal CFO Cynthia Gaylor called the day an "exciting milestone."

She added, "We think pretty long term about these things."

Pivotal offers a cloud-native software development platform called Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF), as well as complementary strategic services, Pivotal Labs ("Labs"). Pivotal has just 319 PCF customers (as of the end of the 2018 fiscal year) but pulled in revenues over $500 million. Subscription revenue brought in $259 million, growing 73 percent year over year.

"There aren't many software companies, let alone platform companies, that are at that size and growing at our growth rate," Gaylor said.

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The company has yet to turn a profit -- its net loss was $163.5 million for fiscal 2018. But Gaylor said Pivotal is on a path to profitability and demonstrating operating leverage in a couple of different ways. In addition to subscription revenue growing quickly, the company is starting to see tailwinds in investments made in areas like sales and marketing and R&D.

With an estimated $50 billion market opportunity in front of it, Gaylor said Pivtoal will continue to invest in the business and grow the top line.

"We think we're at the forefront of the technology leading the way to decisions that enterprises around the world are making," she said. "We want to make sure we're making the right investments to take advantage of our market-leading position and technology footprint."

Profitability comes, she said, if the company is "investing in the right places."

Previous and related coverage

Pivotal files for IPO

The software company, of which Dell is the majority shareholder, has yet to become profitable, its filing shows.

IBM, Pivotal collaborate on tools for app development

The collaboration gives developers more tools for streamlined app development and more options for deployment in different clouds.

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