Shares of New York-based Datadog rose 39% to close at $37.55 after opening at $40.35 in the cloud company’s market debut Thursday. The successful IPO cements Datadog’s position as an East Coast counterweight to Silicon Valley’s dominance of the enterprise software realm.
“Initially when we started fundraising for Datadog, it was really not that easy,” CEO Olivier Pomel told Forbes after the market closed Thursday. “We were not based where most of the companies were based, so it was hard to get trust from investors on the West Coast. And the investors in New York were not really specialized in the type of company we were building.”
Pomel said this underdog tale worked to the advantage of Datadog. By relying on small checks and angel investors at first, the company was forced to build an efficient business, he said. That’s become a huge asset to the nine-year-old company as it ballooned to a $10.9 billion valuation at the end of Thursday. It reported a net loss of $10.8 million, after posting a $2.6 million loss the year prior—good numbers for a fast-growing company of its stature.
Higher net losses usually accompany recent enterprise tech IPOs with comparable revenue figures, such as with Medallia ($82 million), Dynatrace ($116 million) and Crowdstrike ($140 million). “One thing investors reacted to was the fact that we run a healthy business from a profitability perspective,” Pomel said.
“What helped the most by being in New York was that we’re a little bit closer to customers—there’s more of them here. And, you’re out of the echo chamber in the Silicon Valley so here you can get ahead on what the customers think,” he said. One early investment came from Index Ventures, which has backed Datadog beginning with the Series A funding round. Shardul Shah, a partner at the firm who also sits on Datadog’s board, says he bought in because of Pomel’s “relentless focus on delivering customer value from the very beginning.”
The successes of MongoDB and now Datadog could spur the growth of an enterprise ecosystem in New York. Prior to its market debut, Datadog had raised $147.9 million on what Pitchbook estimates as a $640 million valuation. The IPO is New York’s largest venture capital-backed tech IPO in two decades, according to Renaissance Capital.
Now trading on Nasdaq under the “DDOG” ticker, the company priced 24 million shares at $27 on Wednesday. That’s higher than the $24-to-$26 estimated IPO price listed in its latest filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was already a huge boost from the $19-to-$22 range the company originally set. At its IPO price, Datadog raised $648 million to bring its valuation to $7.8 billion. Pomel said the added cash on hand will offer the company the flexibility to continue making acquisitions. He said he’s happy with Datadog’s acquisitions so far, including application tester Madumbo.
At Datadog’s opening stock price, CEO Olivier Pomel was on the cusp of billionaire status. Forbes calculates that the stock would need to surpass about $43 per share for Pomel’s net worth to cross the $1 billion mark—at the stock’s high point of $41.44, Pomel was $35 million short. After the stock price declined slightly over the course of Thursday, Pomel’s net worth settled at $874 million at the time of market close, but that doesn’t seem to bother him: “The stock, it’s up a good amount, but not too much. I think that’s what we were looking for.”
Datadog offers a cloud analytics platform that also provides log management and monitors infrastructure and application performance. Its software is primarily used by IT and developer teams and cuts across industries—it boasts customers including Samsung, 21st Century Fox, the University of Pennsylvania and the Washington Post. In its S-1, the company identified IT operations management as its primary opportunity market. Research firm Gartner predicts the market will be worth $37 billion by 2023.
The IPO reflects continued investor demand for cloud analytics and monitoring. In August alone, application performance management company Dynatrace’s stock jumped 49% in its public debut, while cloud monitoring vendor SignalFx was acquired by Splunk for more than $1 billion. In its S-1 filing, Datadog lists both Dynatrace and Splunk as direct competitors. The company also counts IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, New Relic and Amazon as rivals across fields such as infrastructure monitoring, application performance management and cloud monitoring.
Datadog jumped to No. 5 on this year’s Forbes Cloud 100 list, which was released last week, up from the No. 19 spot in 2018. As of last Wednesday, half of last year’s top 20 sold or went public, with eight taking the latter route amid a busy couple of months for cloud IPOs. Although most of these stocks—such as Zoom, Slack and Crowdstrike—had strong public debuts, some including Slack and Eventbrite have failed to maintain this momentum. Stripe, the No. 1 company in 2018 and 2019, announced a new funding round Thursday that brings its valuation up to $35 billion.
Datadog filed with the SEC in anticipation of its IPO at the end of August. Revenue increased 97% to $198 million in 2018, according to its S-1 filing. The cloud company reportedly rejected an eleventh-hour acquisition offer from Cisco at a figure “significantly higher” than $7 billion, according to Bloomberg. The move would have paralleled Cisco’s 2017 acquisition of AppDynamics for $3.7 billion, just two nights prior to the application performance management company’s IPO.
This article was updated to include the closing stock price, additional context on finances and comments from Pomel and Shah.
I am a San Francisco-based assistant editor for technology and innovation. As my beat, I cover Juul Labs. I also write other general tech news. Previously, I made stops at The Ringer and the Raleigh News & Observer. I graduated in 2019 from Duke University, where I spent time as news editor for The Chronicle, the university’s independent news organization.