For the most part, investors have been lapping up enterprise tech IPOs. Not so for Violin Memory, makers of flash storage systems for enterprises.
It raised $US162 million by selling shares for $US9 to investors that subscribed to its IPO, but when the opening bell rang on Friday, public investors weren’t biting at that price.
The stock tanked, opening at under $US8 dollars and trading as low as $US7.02, on Friday, down 22%. Ouch.
We got on the phone to ask CEO Don Basile what happened. He shrugged it off.
“We raised over $US160 million for the company we’re very pleased with that. What the market does on any given day is not really a concern of ours,” he said.
At the IPO price, Violin Memory was valued at $US736.4 million. The company had hoped to do far better, a $US2 billion valuation, when it first started the IPO process, Bloomberg reports.
Investors were probably scared off by a few things. For one, Violin is chowing through cash. It raised gobs of money from private investors, $US186 million total, all in the last three years and posted losses all three of those years. For instance, in its last full year, it earned $US74 million and lost $US109 million.
For another, Violin was also heavily dependent on partner Hewlett-Packard to sell its wares. But HP ended that deal a year ago and became a competitor. Meanwhile, EMC, IBM and Dell are also moving into the flash storage space.
In its SEC documents, Violin also warned that much of its revenue, 32% in 2012, came from just five of its customers and virtually of its revenue came from its flagship “Flash Memory Array.”
Basile told us that Violin is changing that. In 2013 so far, its top five customers account for 25% of the company’s revenue.
It also doesn’t help that the most highly watched public company in enterprise flash storage, Fusion-IO, is struggling. It’s IPOs was one of the darlings in 2011. But shares have tanked and in May its founders suddenly left the company.
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