MuleSoft, the Unicorn cloud API (Application Programing Interface) provider, is the latest tech company to file its S-1 paperwork to float.
MuleSoft, which plans to list under the ticker 'MULE', started in 2006 with the aim of simplifying the way businesses and programs communicate, and has grown substantially in the last few years.
Revenues have increased from $57.6m in 2014 to $187.7m last year in 2016. While the company is not yet profitable – net losses were $49.6m in 2016 – losses are shrinking and many believe it’s just a matter of time before profits gallop up.
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Rumour has it that MuleSoft aims to raise at least $100m through the float on the New York Stock Exchange, though these figures have yet to be confirmed. While the company has been in a stable position to go live for donkey's years, it's shown a stubborn streak by delaying and instead continuing to raise funds privately, the most recent round being in 2015.
Salesforce Ventures (CRM, -0.35%) led this Series G round, which brought in a total of $128m at a valuation of $1.5bn. In total, MuleSoft has raised $259m in venture funding from backers including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Hummer Winblad and New Enterprise Associates.
MuleSoft's growth has been impressive, with 2016 figures showing 1,071 listed customers, 841 employees and, as mentioned above, a revenue of $187.7m achieved primarily from subscriptions to its Anypoint Platform, which allows apps and technologies to communicate in the cloud. Not bad for a company founded as a small open-source project on the island of Malta.
Story goes that Founder Ross Mason, then a corporate IT developer, continually complained to his wife about not being able to make applications talk to each other. Eventually she grew tired of his long face, telling him to take the reins and do something about it himself. So he did and MuleSoft grew legs. However, while revenue figures are solid, the company has continually managed to spend more than it makes and in 2016 chalked up losses of $49.5m – whether this is a case of putting the cart before the horse or the execution of a calculated strategy remains to be seen.
Why is MuleSoft looking to raise?
The money raised via the IPO is likely to go towards funding operations, marketing and research, and development. Of the 841 employees, nearly 200 work in R&D, pinning new tails on new products.
As new technologies are developed, MuleSoft must ensure its platform can handle their integrations. While some may be worried about the losses accumulated, research shows that more and more companies will be spending money on integrations with the market for technologies, which can help grow MuleSoft into a multi-billion-dollar company. Ultimately, MuleSoft will need to cut costs but for now, it should continue to grow market share and develop its product.