Apptio will have more freedom to grow its IT spending management business as a private company, according to co-founder and CEO Sunny Gupta, but he doesn’t regret taking the Bellevue company public two years ago.
Vista Equity Partners is not interested in cutting costs at Apptio following its $1.9 billion acquisition of the company Sunday, Gupta said Monday in an interview with GeekWire. That’s something that happens quite a bit following a private equity deal, but Apptio plans to continue on a growth trajectory.
“We get to go private and we get to accelerate growth in the private markets, which sometimes can be harder to do in the public markets because of the fickleness or whatever may happen in the public market,” Gupta said.
Apptio’s revenue has grown at a pretty steady clip of around 20 percent since it went public just over two years ago. The company offers services that help other companies track the amount of money they are spending on other IT and cloud services, which in the age of super-easy signups for enterprise SaaS services is harder than it sounds.
And with Sunday’s deal, Apptio’s valuation has more than doubled from its IPO day. The public market can be rough for smaller enterprise SaaS companies that are often breaking ground in new markets without a lot of historical benchmarks, but it was a crucial step in Apptio’s evolution, according to Gupta.
“We’re created shareholder value, tremendously,” he said. “If we didn’t go public we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to partner with Vista on a deal like this.”
That deal came together very quickly: it took just a little over a week from proposal to signatures, Gupta said. Apptio had been entertaining “inbound interest” from other private equity firms as well as bigger tech companies looking for something new for a few months before settling on Vista pretty quickly after they made a serious offer.
“It’s hard to say no to a premium offer like this,” he said.
Gupta declined to comment on Apptio’s plans once the deal closes next year, and there’s an outside chance it never does: The two parties agreed to a 30-day period in which Apptio and its board of directors can evaluate other offers that might come in now that Vista has set a price.
But he pointed to the trajectory of Marketo, which was acquired by Vista in 2016 for $1.8 billion three years after it first went public, as a likely guide. Last month Adobe acquired Marketo for $4.75 billion.
“That’s what I’m personally really excited by because if you really think about, from my perspective, nothing changes other than our shareholders,” Gupta said. “My management team stays intact, our entire organization stays intact, we remain independent and we continue the mission and our work taking Apptio to customers of all sizes and weekend build a really, really large company.”
Apptio will continue to maintain an outsized presence in the Pacific Northwest, Gupta said. The company currently has 850 employees, around half of whom work out of its Bellevue office.
Here’s a video of Gupta speaking at our GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit in 2017, talking about user data in cloud financial management.