Here's how the story developed: Yesterday an outside spokesman sent over an unsolicited email, in which he said: "Next week—on the heels of yet another record year of earnings and recently announced plans to add 300 new employees—Tableau Software, which is disrupting the analytics world with an application that turn data into beautiful maps and graphs, will announce its plans to go IPO."
I took the spokesman up on his offer of an interview with Tableau CEO Christian Chabot, who in a past life was a venture capitalist. But apparently Chabot didn't have availability, as no call was ever set up. So I was left thinking that Tableau perhaps was about to file its S-1, or at least say that it was about to file its S-1.
So I rang up Scott Sandell, a partner with New Enterprise Associates -- the venture capital firm that is Tableau's largest outside shareholder. He told me`that the "board-level discussions" are about taking the company public next year, even though it has the numbers to go out now if it so chose. Sandell added that the company has been very efficient with $15 million or so it has raised in VC funding, and that it shouldn't need additional pre-IPO financing.
I also asked Sandell about his largest areas of concern when first backing the company in 2004. He replied that Tableau originally offered only desktop software, and that such a narrow focus could lead to revenue stagnation or, even worse, company extinction. Tableau has, however, long since expanded its offerings to include server-based products, digital products and a solution for bloggers.
No word yet on how much the company would seek to raise in an IPO.
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