C3.ai, the enterprise AI software company founded by tech entrepreneur Tom Siebel, opened for trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday morning at $100 per share. The first trade valued the company more than 100% above its IPO pricing in another big Wall Street debut amid a frenzied IPO market that also included the mega deal for DoorDash on Wednesday.
C3.ai was previously expected to have a market value of about $4 billion at $42 per share, after pricing its IPO on Tuesday night.
Its first-day gain was as high as 143% with a market cap nearing $10 billion intraday, according to CNBC data. C3.ai shares closed trading ranked No. 12 year-to-date among public offerings, more than doubling in its debut and ending the day up 120%.
The IPO market resurgence after the pandemic’s market bottom in March has defied the odds. When asked if he’d previously thought there was any way the company could go public this year, founder and CEO Tom Siebel said “no way, no how.”
“If we look back at February, March, April, I thought capital markets would be closed for a long time,” Siebel said earlier on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.”
“Like the recessions we saw in 1980, 1990 and 2008, I thought this was something that would last for some years, but nobody could have anticipated the extent of fiscal and monetary stimulus that turned this around,” he added.
A trader working at the NYSE in New York.
C3.ai was launched in 2009 by Tom Siebel, who started customer relationship management software firm Siebel Systems and sold it to Oracle in 2006 for $6 billion. C3.ai’s software can read massive amounts of data and tell its owners — companies in industries such as aerospace, financial services, health care, retail and utilities — if something is about to break down, or the most efficient ways to use sensor data in their supply chain management. The company began life as a software venture for the energy industry. But after the recession, when spending on software in the energy industry had all but dried up, Siebel course-corrected.
Over the past year, the company has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to bring enterprise AI technology to the energy industry via Azure’s cloud computing platform. Microsoft made a quick profit on the IPO.
C3.ai also has Bank of America, Koch Industries, AstraZeneca, the U.S. Air Force, Army Aviation and the military’s U.S. Strategic Command as customers.
“The markets will do what the markets will do,” Siebel said. “This is a financing event for C3 to enable us to meet the needs of rapidly expanding demand for what we do … and we’re very pleased to be able to participate. This is a testament to the great work that the employees of C3 have done over the least decade and now we’re ready to expand this business to global scale.”
The company has made the CNBC Disruptor 50 list multiple times and most recently ranked No. 37 on the 2020 Disruptor 50 list. It is the fifth company from the 2020 list to make its Wall Street debut, a group which also includes DoorDash. Another multiple-time CNBC Disruptor company, Airbnb, is expected to go public at a value as high as $42 billion after investors had cut its valuation to as low as $18 billion during Covid-19.
201 IPOs have priced year-to-date, on pace for the most IPOs since 2014 when there were 275 IPOs, according to Renaissance Capital, with total proceeds up over 60% from last year at $69.9 billion and on pace for the most proceeds raised since 2014 when $85.3 billion was raised.
The largest deal year-to-date before DoorDash was enterprise software company Snowflake with a deal size of $3.36 billion. On Wednesday, DoorDash opened $182 after pricing its IPO at $102.