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Shares of business intelligence company Splunk are up more than 80 percent in their first day of trading today — a strong IPO from a “big data” company backed in part by the Bellevue-based Ignition Partners venture capital firm.

Ignition Partners led a $25 million round in Splunk in 2007, with the firm’s John Connors, the former Microsoft chief financial officer, joining the board of the company at the time.

Splunk, based in San Francisco, set up a branch office in Seattle last year. The company is an example of the growing focus on “big data,” taking machine data from its customers’ internal systems and making it possible to analyze the trends to help make business decisions.

The company has more than 3,700 customers, with big names including Autodesk, Bank of America, Viacom and Zynga among them.

[Editor’s Note: Splunk is an annual sponsor of GeekWire.]

Prior to the IPO, Ignition held a 12.3 percent stake in the company. August Capital and Sevin Rosen each held 20.7 percent, while JK&B Capital held 17 percent.

David Hornik of August Capital, who originally funded the company, reflects on today’s milestone in a blog post.

In many ways, going public is just another chapter in a company’s life. There’s so much more work to be done. Nonetheless, I can’t help but take a few minutes to celebrate all that the Splunk team has done to date. They are a spectacular group of entrepreneurs who have built something really special. Today’s IPO is a credit to the amazing people who make up Splunk. I am forever indebted to all of them.

More coverage: MarketWatch, Business Insider

Update: Ignition’s Cameron Myhrvold, an observer on the Splunk board, calls the company the “perfect example” of the revolution that Big Data will create in applications and application platforms.

“Machine data is completely untrod ground by traditional management software,” he says via email. “Yet there is a wealth of insight and value by offering an easy to use solution that lets IT pros glean value from every log file in their datacenter.”

He notes, “Frankly, we have just scratched surface of applications that can be built on top of machine data and our efforts to make Splunk a platform for customer applications will help customers and ISVs build their own applications that leverage the value and insight embedded in machine data.”

Big data and analytics are a big focus for Ignition, he says, and the firm believes there will be “many more Spunks in the future as enteprise apps adapt to new technology like MapReduce and NoSQL.”

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