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SolarWinds Exec Says ‘Right Time’ For IPO As Public Debut Flat

David Gardiner, SolarWinds chief revenue officer tells CRN the company ‘is very focused on the long-term goal. We’re excited about what happened today. Despite market turbulence, we’re confident this company will continue to grow.’

After spending the last two years as a private company, SolarWinds Corp. is public again, as the network solution provider debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We had accomplished what we wanted to do in the last two and a half years,” David Gardiner, Solarwinds chief revenue officer told CRN. “We’ve developed and grown that business to the point that we feel like we have a market story now that is worth taking to the public market. That story is one of continuing to drive the business that we have.”

The company’s stock closed a hair above its IPO price of $15 at $15.03 per share on Friday afternoon.

[RELATED: SolarWinds Plans $500M IPO Three Years After Exiting Public Market]

Gardiner said two years ago that SolarWinds was recognized as a network monitoring business that was dominant in the mid-market, but there were questions about the breadth of its business. He said currently SolarWinds generates $800 million in revenue, it’s the No. 1 provider of network management, according to IDC and it’s the No. 4 player in systems management. It does business with 22,000 MSPs, and boasts a cloud business with 35,000 cloud customers.

“For us, it’s not about picking a time or a window,” he said. “We weren’t trying to time markets. We felt it was the right time as a company for us to do this. I think in most other cases, had other companies been on the road to doing this, they wouldn’t have gone out. They wouldn’t have had the metrics and the fundamentals to put this deal together.”

SolarWinds was founded by two brothers in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1999, built to deliver tools to network engineers. It was sold to a private equity company in 2006, and the company was moved to Austin, Texas. At that time, SolarWinds began to focus on providing broad-based solutions around network monitoring. The company filed for an IPO in 2008, just as the markets melted down following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. SolarWinds pushed ahead and went public in 2009, and then went private again in 2016, after it was bought by investment firms Silver Lake Partners and Thoma Bravo in a deal worth $4.5 billion.

Gardiner said the company is unfazed by recent turbulence in the public tech market.

“This isn’t new to us, market turbulence. In terms of moving things forward,” he said. “Obviously over the last two weeks its been a little rockier in the markets, but we’re not a stranger to this.”

By going public, SolarWinds hopes to grow what it calls a unique business model that it says is focused on the IT practitioner, rather than the CIOs, with a B2C marketing ideology, and delivering solutions to 275,000 customers worldwide -- everyone from small business to 499 of the Fortune 500 companies, Gardiner said. He said this model has resulted in high growth and high revenue.

“We don’t have outside sales,” he said. “We keep our costs low. We bring the software to market at an affordable price, and we build our software based on feedback from users. So we’ve got a community website which has 150,000 registered users, and that’s where we source all of our data about what we need to be doing in terms of adding features to products and developing new products.”

The firm hopes to use some of the money it raises in the IPO and take that same template to the security arena, Gardiner said.

“We’ve been looking at where we can apply that model, and we’ve found it in the MSP space and we’ve found it in the cloud space, and then most recently, just in the last month, we really kind of started moving to the security space,” he said. “We’ve done that with an acquisition of Trusted Metrics which is a threat monitoring solution, and then we just announced the release of a product which is an access rights management product in the security space. That for us is an exciting place where were going to fund and drive growth into.”

He said whether public or private SolarWinds remains focused on driving the idea of the IT practitioner making bigger decisions inside large organizations, and giving them the solutions they need to do the job, he said.

“We believe the CIOs, the VPs, the executives are important, but we’ve always been focused on that person who is doing the job, trying to solve those problems,” Gardiner said. “As you’re looking at the markets and what’s going on here, the IPO, which is an important thing, and a thing we’re excited about, is just a sign post along the way. SolarWinds is a company that is very focused on the long-term goal. We’re excited about what happened today. Despite market turbulence, we’re confident this company will continue to grow.”

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