When many consumers think of search, they think of Google, but under the hood of hundreds of businesses and other organizations, there are hundreds of other kinds of challenges that require search technology. Today, one of the bigger companies providing that, Elastic, saw just how valuable that business can be, by way of a very strong debut as a public company. The company today opened up at $70, a pop of 94 percent on its initial public offering at $36 on Thursday night. Elastic — founded in the Netherlands — raised $252 million at a market capitalization of around $2.5 billion in that IPO, and trading continues to be strong.
Its stock is currently at $71.69 (up about 99 percent on its IPO price, for those keeping track). We’ll update this post as trading continues.
Although Google has long dominated the market for consumer’s search queries, Elastic has taken the approach of providing a set of strong search tools to organizations to help them both with tackling their own internal data troves, but also to help them build products for their customers to use.
This is no small thing: the tech world is built on big data, and there are absolutely troves of it being created and that goes into making services work, but it’s only valuable if it can be harnessed, controlled and shaped to whatever purpose you need, and that’s where Elastic comes in, covering both customer-facing and internal requirements.
“When you hail a ride home from work with Uber, Elastic helps power the systems that locate nearby riders and drivers. When you shop online at Walgreens, Elastic helps power finding the right products to add to your cart. When you look for a partner on Tinder, Elastic helps power the algorithms that guide you to a match. When you search across Adobe’s millions of assets, Elastic helps power finding the right photo, font, or color palette to complete your project,” the company noted in its IPO prospectus.
“As Sprint operates its nationwide network of mobile subscribers, Elastic helps power the logging of billions of events per day to track and manage website performance issues and network outages. As SoftBank monitors the usage of thousands of servers across its entire IT environment, Elastic helps power the processing of terabytes of daily data in real time. When Indiana University welcomes a new student class, Elastic helps power the cybersecurity operations protecting thousands of devices and critical data across collaborating universities in the BigTen Security Operations Center. All of this is search.”
The company says its portfolio of search products — based on open source and existing under the brand Elastic Stack (which includes Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash) — have been downloaded over 350 million times since the company launched in 2013 — a mixture of paid and free products.
The strength of Elastic’s message/mission and customer base has been enough to entice investors despite the fact that the company is not profitable.
It has 5,500 customers across over 80 countries and in a wide range of industries, and it posted sales of $159.9 million in fiscal 2018, versus $88.2 million the year before, growth of 81 percent. It is also loss-making. Elastic posted net losses of $52.7 million in FY 2018, with a net loss of $52.0 million the year before, while operating cash flow was negative $20.8 million in FY 2018.
Dutch startups have had a strong little run in the market in the last couple of months. Adyen, the payments company, popped 67 percent when it made its debut in June. For some further context, Elastic had hoped to raise $100 million when it first filed its IPO in September. Overall for the tech IPO market, this is a big bounce back after the lacklustre performance of Funding Circle last week.