Kayak Takes Off on Day One

Kayak, a household name for online hotel and flight search, jumped $4, or 16 percent, to open this morning at $30 a share.

The company sold 3.5 million shares last night at $26 a share, raising $100 million. At that price, the company has a market valuation of roughly $1 billion.

Only last week, Kayak had estimated that it would sell 3.5 million shares between $22 and $25. The stock can be found on the Nasdaq Exchange under the ticker symbol KYAK.

After its initial opening, shares continued to rise, trading as much as 25 percent higher.

Kayak was founded in 2004 by Steve Hafner, Kayak’s CEO, and Paul English, Kayak’s CTO.

The IPO has been a long time in coming. The Norwalk, Conn.-based company filed nearly a year ago, but faced multiple delays as the economy sputtered. More recently, the offering was considered to be a possibility again, after other companies — such as LinkedIn, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook and others — went public with varying degrees of success.

Palo Alto Networks, a provider of Internet firewall technology, also started trading early this morning, jumping as much as 48 percent in its public debut.

Kayak had raised a combined $223 million over four rounds, including a mammoth $196 million round in 2007 from Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Accel Partners, most of which was used to acquire rival SideStep for about $200 million in cash and stock.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work