FARMINGTON — Utah's Pluralsight went public Thursday, and the offering exceeded expectations.
“We’re really pleased with where it’s at and how the market is receiving us,” Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard told KSL.com.
The local tech unicorn and cloud-based learning platform offered 20.7 million shares of Class A common stock at an opening price of $20 on NASDAQ — roughly 34 percent above the $15 price in the company’s IPO.
The company’s prospectus initially projected a maximum aggregate offering price over $285 million based on a purchase price of up to $12 per share. The final maximum aggregate offering price was over $350 million based on an actual offering price of $15 per share with an exercise of over-allotment, indicating exceptional interest from investors.
However, Pluralsight's stock opened at approximately $20 Thursday morning and remained there until the stock market closed.
Pluralsight is the second Utah tech company to go public in recent years, following software company Instructure’s IPO in 2015. The company is most likely the first in a string of local tech enterprises that will start trading publicly in the next 18 months.
The company is trading under the symbol “PS,” and the offering is expected to close Monday. Pluralsight has granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase over 3 million additional shares of Class A common stock, which they’ll likely use.
Skonnard co-founded Pluralsight 14 years prior to its IPO and bootstrapped for nine years before taking funding. The company has since grown and changed drastically since its early iterations.
Pluralsight initially set out training groups of 25 people at a time in a classroom, but roughly three years in, the company realized they could take their technology training into the cloud "where the whole world could be our classroom,” Skonnard said.
Since then, Pluralsight’s platform has grown to host more than 6,700 expert-authored courses to train tech professionals in their respective fields. Skonnard hopes Pluralsight can help close the global tech skills gap and fill the more than 500,000 open computing jobs in the U.S. — a number that’s expected to double by 2020.
He also believes the company’s growth will help attract top-notch talent to Utah.
“We’ve been having great success at recruiting people from outside of Utah to come to Utah because of the thriving tech community that exists within the state,” Skonnard said. “And it’s not just because of Pluralsight; there are a lot of great companies in Utah having an impact on that.”
And others in the tech community believe Pluralsight’s IPO is a win for the Utah tech scene as well.
“Like a running LeBron James one-hander to ice a ball game, Skonnard and team just clinched an important win for the Silicon Slopes ecosystem. We are all witnesses to one of the most exciting and consequential periods in our community and state's history,” Silicon Slopes executive director Clint Betts said in a post on the Silicon Slopes website.
But Pluralsight plans on expanding outside of the Beehive State as well. Skonnard said the company’s greatest potential for growth right now may be in Europe as the business expands there, and he expects to see “great things.”
Pluralsight’s gross revenues currently appear to be increasing about 25 percent per year, but the company is not yet profitable, according to the prospectus. Pluralsight has about $137.5 million in long-term debt which it intends to pay off with the IPO proceeds.
The company has been cash flow positive from the beginning, however, except in 2017 when executives decided to invest in an enterprise sales team, and Pluralsight experienced a net loss of about $96 million. But Skonnard saw the investment as a good thing.
“What you’re seeing is the investment in an opportunity, and we went for it and it’s already paying off,” he said.
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