Data Visualization App Vendor Tableau Signals IPO Plans

Tableau filed a Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday in which the Seattle-based company said it planned to raise up to $150 million in its initial public offering (IPO). The company plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "DATA."

The document did not say how many shares the company plans to offer, nor did it set an expected share price. It also didn't set a target date for the IPO.

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In the S-1, Tableau disclosed that it recorded $127.7 million in sales in fiscal 2012, ended Dec. 31. That's almost double from $62.4 million in sales in 2011, which in turn was almost double 2010's sales of $34.2 million. The company reported net income just shy of $1.6 million for 2012.

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Co-founded by three Stanford University students in 2003, Tableau develops software that makes it easier for analysts and business users to visualize data and data analysis results. With the sudden explosion of "big data" and the growing need for better ways to analyze and display information, Tableau has been a rising star among the new generation of business analytics companies.

According to the S-1, extending distribution channels and the Tableau partner ecosystem is a key element of the company's growth strategy. "We plan to continue investing in distribution channels, technology partners and original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, relationships to help us enter and grow in new markets while complementing our direct sales efforts," the S-1 document states.

"We are actively growing our indirect channels, particularly in international markets. We intend to continue to invest in technology partnerships that enable us to build and promote complementary capabilities that benefit our customers. We have also recently introduced application programming interfaces, or APIs, to further empower our developer and OEM partner ecosystem to create applications that embed Tableau functionality," the S-1 says.

In November Tableau named Mark Schwendener as vice president of global channels and alliances. Before joining Tableau, Schwendener was director of strategic alliances at KPMG. Before that he held channel management posts at business intelligence software vendors Microstrategy and Information Builders.

"Ovum believes the challenge for Tableau will be to continue maintain its 80-plus percent year-over-year growth that it has consistently returned over the past several years under greater scrutiny by shareholders," said a comment published by the Ovum market research firm.

"The challenge will be to manage these shareholder expectations – specifically growing its existing departmental success, that have driven much of its growth, into larger, and more lucrative enterprise wide deals. Ovum believes that longer term sustainable growth will require the company to advance new product development, including in more advanced and richer analytic capabilities and also factor in back-end data management (data integration, data quality, and master data management) capabilities if it to provide enterprises with a full Big Data analytics solution. All this while still preserving the culture that made the company and its products so attractive to customers in the first place," Ovum said.

Last month Tableau unveiled Tableau 8.0, the next generation of its business analytics and visualization software, with expanded Web and mobile capabilities. CRN named Tableau 3.0 the best application of the year in 2007.