Israeli Startup Wix Raises $127 Million in Initial Public Offering

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Israeli website builder Wix sold $127 million in shares in its initial public offering, with nearly three quarters of that to help the company hire more people, buoy its sales and marketing efforts and boost its corporate efforts in general. The IPO valued the startup at $760 million before its debut Wednesday on the Nasdaq.

The shares sold at $16.50 each, the top of a $14.50-$16.50 range. Wix shareholders unloaded $32.8 million worth of stock, with the rest of the funds going to the company.

Wix has grown rapidly in recent years but is still making losses, according to its prospectus. At the end of June, the company had 425 employees, including 346 in Israel and 59 in the United States. At the end of August, the company had 37 million users in 190 countries; around 680,000 users were paying customers.

Wix provides a cloud-based platform that lets anyone build a website without knowledge of programming or web design. The product is targeted at small businesses especially. Wix offers templates appropriate for a user's business or interest; the user can then easily edit the site.

The company also charges for premium services. For example, users can develop and operate a site as a Wix sub-domain, or pay a fee to operate a site independently.

The main shareholders before the IPO were venture capital funds Mangrove Venture Partners (27%), Bessemer Venture Partners (26%), Benchmark Capital (13.2%) and Insight Venture Partners (12.2%). Wix was founded in 2006 by Giora Kaplan and the brothers Nadav and Avishai Abrahami.

The underwriters for the IPO were JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and RBC Capital Markets.

Wix headquarters in Tel Aviv.Credit: Moti Milrod

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