Tableau-BEN_0622Champagne corks were popping this morning at Tableau Software offices as the Seattle-based company celebrated the biggest tech IPO so far this year.

And I am sure the bars in Fremont — the quirky Seattle neighborhood that Tableau calls home — are crawling with newly-minted paper millionaires tonight. (Tableau execs are under a lock-up, preventing them from selling shares in the open market for 180 days).

But there’s still plenty to celebrate. Tableau came barreling onto the New York Stock Exchange today, with a stock price that accelerated more than 63 percent to close its first day of trading at $50.75. The company is now valued at about $2.5 billion. It reached a valuation as high as $2.99 billion when the stock peaked at $52.15.

tableau-stock5555That’s slightly bigger than Seattle-based Zillow, which is now valued at $2 billion. It was the last Seattle tech company to go public, pricing its shares in July 2011. (Zillow also had a nice pop in its first few days on Wall Street, but its market value was far smaller, at about $650 million).

The Tableau IPO came almost exactly one year after the public offering of Facebook, an IPO that many industry watchers say was botched.

“Tableau was the IPO that Facebook wishes it was,” Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital, told Investors Business Daily. The 10-year-old company, which moved from Silicon Valley to Seattle a year after it was founded, raised $254 million in today’s public offering.

We got the chance to speak with Tableau CEO and co-founder Christian Chabot, whose paper stake in Tableau is now worth about $380 million, earlier today. (PreviouslyQ&A with Tableau CEO Christian Chabot: ‘We’ve been working our whole lives to become an overnight success’)

He said the new riches won’t change his ways.

“We started as a bootstrapped company. And we have never been very focused on the money piece of the equation,” he said. “We are really focused on the mission, and building this business to the next level. That is the fun part.”

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