IPOs destined for the clouds

Several cloud-based companies in pipeline to offer public shares

On Friday I wrote about all the venture capital money flowing to cloud start-ups. Now many of the cloud companies that have landed private financing are ready to go public, though with a lot less buzz than the Facebooks, Zyngas and Groupons of the world.

Renaissance Capital points out in this blog post that the new year already has seen one cloud player go public, with two more set to make their Wall Street debuts over the next two weeks and another having just filed its S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Of immediate interest is Brightcove, a cloud-based provider of video publishing platforms for enterprises that is expected to price 5 million shares this week in the $10 to $12 range.

Brightcove generates nearly all of its revenue from its subscription-based Video Cloud platform, though late last year it released a new product called AppCloud. The company claims nearly 4,000 customers globally, including media giants such as A&E Television Networks, Discovery Communications, The New York Times and our very own IDG.

Revenue was $63.6 million in 2011, up 46% from $43.7 million in 2010. The latter revenue figure is just 21% above 2009's $36.2 million, so that means sales growth is accelerating, which is a good sign.

However, Brightcove is losing money, though last year's net loss of $17.3 million was down from $17.8 million in 2010.

Brightcove, based in Cambridge, Mass., seeks to raise $55 million with its initial public offering, which will be traded on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol BCOV. You can read its S-1 filing here.

I'll write another time about the cloud company set to go public next week as well as the one that just filed, but I'll finish this post with news about Guidewire Software (NASDAQ: GWRE), a company that offers web-based software for the insurance industry.

Guidewire went public on January 25, pricing 8.85 million shares at $13. Shares finished that day at 17.12, up 32% from the offer price. The stock was trading Monday as high as 23.38, or 80% above the offer price of less than three weeks ago, before closing at 23.09.

While Guidewire is still in its infancy as a public company, its early ticker performance is a lot better than that of most social media IPOs.

It's also profitable. Guidewire had a fiscal 2011 net profit of $35.6 million, more than twice the 2010 net profit of $15.5 million. But revenue growth slowed in 2011, climbing just 19% to $172.5 million from 2010's $144.7 million, which was a much more impressive 71% above revenue of $84.7 million in 2009.

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