Splunk, Big Data’s First IPO, Begins Trading on Nasdaq Today
Sometime today, shares of the data analysis company Splunk will start trading on the Nasdaq National Market in New York, after pricing last night at $17 a share. The company’s offering has raised about $230 million.
Splunk is not your traditional big-data company, in that it is not running some variant of Hadoop, like so many upstart companies in that space. Its specialty, as CEO Godfrey Sullivan told me last year, is harvesting data from machines; they can be Web servers or they can be air-conditioning units. Its cloud-based database grabs all the data generated by the machine in the course of its operation and generates alerts. Those alerts can tell a human operator things like “everything’s cool” or “ouch, things are not so cool. I need help.”
If a machine does something that repeats many times a day, hour or minute, then it is generating data that can be measured. And if it can be measured, there’s a pretty good chance that you can make that data useful, using Splunk.
Big customers include cloud concerns like Salesforce.com and the Web gaming outfit Zynga. Wireless companies like MetroPCS and T-Mobile use it to monitor their wireless networks. Several government agencies use it to help watch for attacks on their networks. In all, it has about 3,700 customers in 75 countries.
So, who stands to get rich today?
The two biggest shareholders are the Sevin Rosen Funds and August Capital, which each own 20.4 percent of the shares, worth just a whisker less than $280 million at the offering price. Behind them is JK&B Capital, which owns a 17.6 percent stake worth $240 million. Ignition Partners has a 12.1 percent stake worth $165 million. Sullivan, the CEO, has an 8.2 percent share worth $118 million. Another name that jumped out at me: Patrick McGovern,
head of the tech research and publishing house IDG, has 240,666 shares worth more than $4 million. (Update: I’ve since learned it’s a different Patrick McGovern. Sorry about that.)