Varonis Systems Doubles in Nasdaq IPO

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Varonis Systems, an American-Israeli firm that develops data protection and management software, saw specular success in its debut on Wall Street Friday. By the close of trade on the Nasdaq exchange the company’s market capitalization had neared $1 billion.

The company’s initial public offering last week raised about $106 million, with an initial price per share of $22, but on its first day of trading, on Friday, the share price doubled, to $44.

Even the initial $22 share valuation was above the price range of $19 to $21 that had been expected. As recently as February 18, the company priced its IPO at $17 to $19 per share.

Friday’s Nasdaq close would give the company a value of $955.8 million, putting Varonis in the league of other high-tech firms with an Israeli connection that have made the headlines in the past year with similar valuations. They include Ra’anana-based Waze, the mobile navigation application developer that was sold to Google last year for $1 billion and Viber, the Cyprus-based, Israeli-run mobile communications app developer that was snapped up by a Japanese high-tech giant last month for $900 million.

Founded in 2005, Varonis helps organizations manage and analyze their unstructured data, such as documents, spreadsheets and media files. It was founded by CEO Yakov Faitelson and Chief Technology Officer Ohad Korkus. Headquartered in New York, it has offices in Herzliya. According to its prospectus, 224 of the company’s 536 employees are in Israel. At the end of 2010, Varonis had fewer than 200 employees worldwide.

Before last week’s IPO, the company raised around $33 million from investors that included Accel Partners, Evergreen Venture Partners, Pitango Venture Capital and EMC Corp.

Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital were the lead underwriters in the initial public stock offering.

In 2008, according to a lawsuit filed by a former employee, the company was in negotiations to be acquired.

The success of Varonis Systems on Wall Street has sparked optimism that other Israeli high-tech IPOs offerings planned in the near future will also fare well. Among them is Borderfree, an Israeli-U.S. firm that provides a platform through which retailers, particularly in the United States, can offer their wares to overseas customers in a more user-friendly format, including pricing in foreign currencies and shipping to foreign American addresses. Founded by Israelis, the company employs around 70 people in Tel Aviv.

Varonis had revenues of $74.6 million in 2013, according to a revised prospectus filed in advance of its IPO, up 40% from the year before. It reported an operating loss of $5.8 million for 2013, compared to a $1.5 million loss the previous year. Net losses in 2013 were $7.4 million, compared to $5 million in 2012.

Before last week’s IPO, Accel had a 25.6% stake in the company. Evergreen held a 23.1% ownership stake and Pitango 17.7%. Faitelson and Korkus owned 9.2% and 9.4%, respectively. The extent to which the IPO diluted these shareholders’ ownership is not yet clear. The two founders previously divested a portion of their prior stake as new investors came on board at a share price of $11.50.

With reporting from Reuters.

Varonis Systems CEO Yaki Faitelson (center, in blue shirt) at the Nasdaq on Friday.Credit: Zef Nikolla / NASDAQ OMX

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