Liesl Nielsen,

Utah tech company Health Catalyst goes public

By Liesl Nielsen, | Updated - Jul. 25, 2019 at 5:45 p.m. | Posted - Jul. 25, 2019 at 11:36 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s newest tech unicorn, Health Catalyst, went public Thursday after selling 7 million shares priced at $26 each and raising $182 million.

In corporate culture, "unicorns” are what techies and investors have started calling private startup companies valued at $1 billion or more. Salt Lake-based Health Catalyst earned that distinction in early February after a $100 million funding round, just a little over a year after predicted the title.

Just a few months later, however, Health Catalyst filed for an initial public offering and lost its "unicorn" status as soon as it officially went public Thursday morning.

Health Catalyst is trading under the symbol HCAT on the NASDAQ exchange, and the company has done especially well in early trading, with its initial shares priced at $26 and its current shares now trading over $39 as of Thursday evening. The company’s valuation stands at roughly $1.5 billion.

But company CEO Dan Burton said the company's first day of trading is not Health Catalyst's focus.

"We’ve tried to stay focused on the long term and not so much what happens in the first day or the first couple of days. We appreciate the warm reception that the company’s received, but the whole, strategic rationale was really backed in a long-term vision of continuing to grow in scale. So that remains our focus," he explained.

The 11-year-old, Salt Lake-based Health Catalyst was founded by two Intermountain Medical information technology employees in 2008, but really took off in 2011. Health Catalyst’s software essentially allows healthcare professionals to quickly aggregate and analyze data to better understand their patients and their health.

The health care industry has just recently started undergoing a digital revolution, Burton told in February. Up until a few years ago, most patient data was all on paper. It’s much harder to analyze data when it’s on paper, he said.

With digitized data, a doctor can have a better idea of the patient’s medical history and see trends or patterns they might not have been able to before.

“I think the next 10 or 15 years will be all about harnessing that valuable data to pinpoint thousands of opportunities for clinical, financial and operational improvement,” Burton said in February. “We have a mission that is broad and will take decades to fulfill … and, my goodness, we’re just barely scratching the surface."

Health Catalyst's decision to go public really hinged on the broadness of that mission, Burton told Thursday.

"As we’ve thought about how we’re going to grow and scale as a company over the years, we’ve expected that taking the step to become a public company would be an important and necessary step for us, and so we’ve been preparing for this for some time, waiting to make sure we get to a sufficient size, scale and predictability as a business to be really successful as a publicly traded company," Burton said.

Health Catalyst's next step will be to expand beyond the United States. The company recently signed its first international contracts in the United Kingdom and Singapore and plans to continue growing in foreign markets. Burton said Health Catalyst also hopes to address requests from clients for new software services.

"I think it’s great for the company. It’s great for Utah as well," Burton added, noting that the company will grow significantly within the Beehive State as well. "This was a great opportunity to talk about the state and Silicon Slopes and talk about what a wonderful environment it is in Utah."

Health Catalyst is the third Utah tech company to go public in just over a year. Tech companies Pluralsight and Domo went public in May and June, leaving Utah’s lone official unicorn after Qualtrics was acquired by SAP for a record $8 billion.

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