Talend CEO Mike Tuchen Talks Growth and Discipline After Trading Debut

(C) 2012 Peter M Liu

There’s something to be said for financial discipline in a software startup.

Shares of big data firm Talend (TLND), founded 10 years ago by the same French software engineer behind Business Objects, leapt almost 50% early in their trading debut on Friday. That was after pulling off its initial public offering on Thursday night at a higher price than anticipated: $18 per share rather than the $15-$17 range described in its prospectus.

To be clear: Talend isn’t profitable. Last year, it reported a net loss of $22 million on $76 million. But the company managed to become cash-flow positive in the first quarter ended March 31, even while growing its subscription revenue by 40%, according to the company’s prospectus.

That metric caught the attention of risk-averse investors, Talend CEO Mike Tuchen told Fortune shortly after his company’s stock began trading. “It felt lonely a couple of years ago when everyone else was running in the other direction,” he said.

Talend’s decision to go public despite the uncertain IPO market was driven, in part, by its quest to penetrate more deeply into larger accounts. “This significantly raises our profile,” Tuchen said. “It gives larger companies the transparency and confidence to bet on us.”

Talend sells data management and analytics software meant to help companies organize their existing data so that it can be used to drive applications such as fraud detection, predictive equipment maintenance, inventory management, personalized marketing, and other services that require real-time analytics. It has more than 1,300 customers including Air France, Citi, and General Electric.

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Some of the proceeds from the offering, which raised $94.5 million, may be used for “complementary acquisitions,” although there are no deals in the offing at this time. Tuchen said Talend is on the look out for “tuck-in technologies” that can be used to add new features to its software quickly.

You can also expect Talend to add more partners; it currently has more than 120 close allies including Cloudera, Hortonworks (HDP), MapR, Amazon Web Services, Accenture, and Capgemini.

Legally speaking, Talend is a French company even though its headquarters are in Redwood City, Calif. It was founded in 2006 by Fabric Bonan and Bertrand Diard, the founder of data analytics company Business Objects (bought in 2008 by SAP). The company currently employs approximately 600 people worldwide.

Talend’s shares leapt to a high of $28 in heavy trading on Friday. Shortly after midday, they were trading at a 41% premium to the company’s IPO price.

Talend is one of three software companies that have gone public in the last few weeks. Cloud communications Twilio (TWLO) made its debut at $15 per share one month ago, on the day of the “Brexit” vote, and it is trading well above that price. And Line (LN), the Japanese messaging software company, pulled off the biggest tech IPO so far this year, raising $1.14 billion.

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