BlackLine Gains Nearly 50% in Largest Tech IPO of 2016

© Can Stock Photo / godrumaBlackLine Inc. priced its IPO at the high end of the range on Friday, and surged nearly 50% in a delayed opening, squarely placing the accounting and software company in unicorn territory. Could this signal the beginning of something good for tech?

Los Angeles-based BlackLine priced 8.6 million shares at $17 and traded as high as $25.75 at midday, when nearly 6 million shares had exchanged hands on the Nasdaq — which also happens to be a BlackLine customer. If the underwriters choose to take up the full allotment of 9.89 million shares, Blackline would raise $168 million, making it the largest U.S. tech offering of 2016, the Financial Times reports.

This week, IPO watchers were keeping a close eye on BlackLine, which initially had a price range on its popular software of $13-$15. Also on everyone’s radar: ZTO Express, the biggest offering from China since Alibaba. The $1.4 express delivery IPO has already been declared a dud, dropping 15% on its first day of trading on Thursday.

BlackLine has pedigree but no profits. Founded by Therese Tucker, BlackLine is a rare female-run startup that was bootstrapped from its founding in 2001. In 2013 Silver Lake Sumeru and Iconiq Capital invested in the firm. Iconiq, a multi-family office, boasts a who’s who of billionaire clients — Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey, and Reid Hoffman.

BlackLine says it has more than 1,500 clients, including companies like Coca Cola, and more than 147,000 users. In the first six months of the year, BlackLine posted revenues of nearly $53 million, up from $36 million a year earlier. Its per share loss increased to 8 cents from 5 cents in 2015 as marketing and other costs surged.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan were the lead underwriters for BlackLine, which trades under the symbol BL. Nasdaq and BlackLine execs donned pink wigs as they rang the bell on the first day of trading to celebrate the pink-haired CEO.

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