Springtime stirrings in tech IPO market

Contact: Brenon Daly

With US equity markets hitting all-time highs and volatility sinking to post-recession lows, Wall Street appears ready to embrace new issues. Even the fitful offering of smart grid vendor Silver Spring Networks, which had been collecting dust as the company’s revenue declined over the past year, found buyers earlier this week. However, few observers would put Silver Spring forward as a ‘tech’ IPO, much less an offering that should necessarily be emulated.

But we won’t have to wait long for a bellwether for the sector. Both Model N and Marin Software are expected to price their IPOs next week, a pair of offerings that could create a cool $1bn in market value. And coming behind those debutants are a host of companies hoping to hit the market this summer, including Violin Memory, SilkRoad Technology and Tableau Software. (Of the trio, data-visualization provider Tableau looks to be the next ‘hot’ enterprise IPO, and will almost assuredly command a double-digit valuation when it begins trading.)

The rumored offerings by all three of those enterprise tech vendors have come through a so-called ‘confidential filing,’ a recent regulatory change by the SEC that allows companies to put in their IPO paperwork – and work through the inevitable revisions – without disclosing the filing until they are ready to hit their roadshow. Most companies are opting to file on the quiet – but not all of them. Somewhat confusingly, for instance, Marketo publicly announced that it had privately filed. And earlier this week, agile development shop Rally Software Development put in its paperwork for all the world to see.

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