UPDATE: OpenTable Opens Big; Stock Up Almost 25% In Early Trading

imageOpenTable (NSDQ: OPEN) CEO Jeff Jordan (pictured, right) probably wouldn’t have been tapped to ring the opening bell on the NASDAQ just a few years ago when the IPO market was thriving. But that’s where he was today, and his company’s stock got off to a strong start: It opened up 23 percent at $24.10 after heavy demand for the first venture-backed internet IPO since August 2008 caused the underwriters of the offering to increase the price twice in the past couple weeks. In the first 10 minutes of trading the shares have gone as high as $28 on heavy trading of about 2 million shares already.

The company, which makes money from licensing its reservation software to restaurants, is a rare IPO in the current economic downturn and a positive sign for Silicon Valley that there is still demand in venture-backed internet companies, though many startups are struggling to survive amid weakening ad revenue. The company originally priced the IPO at $12 to $14, but raised the price earlier in the week to $16 to $18 before settling on $20 last night.

Update: Demand remained as strong as ever for the OPEN shares, which ended the day up 60 percent to 31.89 at the close of the market. About five million shares were traded during the day.