Jive CEO on his company’s IPO

December 13, 2011, 10:28 PM UTC

A conversation with the CEO of Jive Software, which began trading today on the Nasdaq.

Jive Software (JIVE), a Silicon Valley-based SaaS company focused on business collaboration, last night raised $160 million in its IPO, pricing 13.4 million shares at $12 a piece. That’s well beyond the original plans to offer 11.7 million shares at between $8 and $10 per share, and the company’s stock this morning popped more than 25% upon listing (it’s trading at $15.07 per share as of this writing).

Jive CEO Tony Zingale rang the Nasdaq opening bell this morning, and then took a few minutes to chat via telephone. What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation:

Fortune: What were your thoughts about Jive’s IPO prospects during the roadshow, and when did you decide to increase the price per share?

Zingale: When we were out on the roadshow we had two very significant partners to take us out, in Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, so we saw a quality group of prospective investors. The meetings went well, which we had thought would happen due to the size of the market opportunity… There has been a social halo effect in the consumer world, particularly with LinkedIn going public over the summer, and we felt that would translate a bit into the enterprise SaaS space. But we didn’t really put it all together and decide to price at $12 until the end.

Speaking of that halo, what does Jive’s success today mean for other enterprise software companies going public, particularly those in the cloud?

I can’t comment on what it means for other companies, but I know what it does for our customers and employees. You can’t get here without the kind of market opportunity, product platform and success in customer rates that we’ve had. If other companies have that kind of pedigree than we wish them all the luck in the world.

But it’s important to say that this is just the beginning, not the endpoint. Where we’re trading is important, but the real challenge is creating long-term shareholder value and executing against the market opportunity in front of us.

Do you expect that being public will make it easier to get large corporate clients?

It’s never easy, but it does create additional awareness not only for Jive but also the market we work in. And maybe it will leave some of the wanna-be’s behind. When you’re a private company, customers always are worried if you’ll be around in a year, about your viability. Our CFO has had to have lots of conversations like that with prospective buyers, but he doesn’t have to do that anymore.

A number of VC-backed companies have priced strong IPOs this year, only to have their share prices tumble once the insider lockup expires. Do you have any agreements in place with insiders not to sell?

No we don’t, it’s really at their discretion. If you look at our VCs they really are the best in Silicon Valley, the Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs of venture. Sequoia, in particular, is known as a long-term holder. If we are meeting, if not beating, expectations, then shareholders will be pleased. I think that’s more important than what happens after the lockup, since it’s not something we control.

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