Summary:

Tableau had a successful IPO, closing the trading day up 64 percent and raking in $254 million. CEO Christian Chabot says the company is now set to make itself known around the world.

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photo: Yahoo Finance

Data analytics star Tableau had a successful initial public offering on Friday, closing the day up nearly 64 percent at $50.75 per share. That means the company brought in about $254 million (it sold 5 million shares, while stockholders sold 3.4 million) and has a market cap of $2.9 billion. Shares have remained relatively steady in after-hours trading, trending down only slightly.

“We’re thrilled,” Tableau co-founder and CEO Christian Chabot told me during a call after the market closed. One should hope so.

Chabot and his fellow co-founders stand to make a lot of money if today’s closing price holds up, as does its sole investor NEA. The firm put $15 million into Tableau since it launched in 2003, and has rode that sum to profitability and more than $127 million in annual revenue.

Here’s a quick chart (made using Tableau Public) showing who owns how many share and what they’re potentially worth.

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The company didn’t really need more capital to operate, Chabot said, but one of the primary drivers was to raise awareness of the company. It has about 12,000 customers, he said, but there are millions more possible users. As part of attracting them, the company is going to expand globally and is working to improve its reach across mobile devices, the cloud and the Mac operating system.

“I don’t believe in the this whole ‘or’ philosophy with computers,” Chabot said. “It’s ‘and'” — meaning people will use desktops and tablets and smartphones.

More prominence and more users singing its praises might also dispel the notion that Tableau is just about visualization. It has some fairly advanced features under the covers (as a commenter to my earlier post about the company’s influence pointed out), even if they’re hidden by the relatively simple user experience.

“Tableau is not a visualization company, per se, it’s really an analytics company,” Chabot said.

However, if the company really wants to expand its reach to everyone one who wants to gain knowledge from data — something Chabot calls a “timeless human need” — it might actually need to get simpler. More marketing can let potential business users know about new features like forecasting and data-extraction, but it won’t make a dentist is Des Moines better at formatting his data.

After raising $254 million in its IPO, though, Tableau is in a good place to do whatever it has to.

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