Cloud-based communications provider Twilio went public today on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "TWLO", opening at $23.99 per share.
The proceedings mark one of the first initial public offerings from a major technology firm this year. As such, many are portraying the IPO as a barometer for venture-backed tech companies and so-called unicorns.
But in reality, Twilio is a real business behind the scenes, with a real model, developer ecosystem and a solid enterprise play.
Through its cloud platform, which runs on top of AWS, Twilio provides messaging, notifications and other mobile services. It recently opened up its app ecosystem and integrated itself with the likes of T-Mobile and IBM. They do voice, video and messaging, and serve as the backend to Uber, Box, OpenTable, EMC, Coke and a host of others.
Founded in 2008, Twilio has raised a total of $233 million in venture capital from investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, Amazon, and Lowercase Capital. Twilio's last financing round was a year ago when it raised $130 million led by T. Rowe Price.
Over the past eight years, Twilio has built a suite of services designed to bring telephone capabilities to mobile apps, where developers can tap into its bevy of APIs for SMS, MMS and text message communication. The company launched video calling services a year ago, a move seen as a key addition to its cloud-based communications platform.
Last night Twilio priced its IPO at $15 per share, above the $12 to $14 range anticipated in an updated IPO prospectus from last week. The price range gives Twilio a market capitalization of roughly $1.2 billion.
Still, the company has yet to make a profit. In 2015, revenue was $167 million with net loss of $35.5 million. In its S-1 form, Twilio said it had revenue of $59.3 million, coupled with a net loss of $6.5 million, at the end of the March 31 quarter.
On the plus side, Twilio says it has 26,648 active customer accounts.
Twilio plans to use proceeds from today's IPO to invest in its engineering and marketing operations, and for expanding its technology platform.
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