As an entrepreneur, David Friend has been around the block a few times. The 63-year-old has built and sold four companies and raised a ton of venture capital along the way. That still didn’t prepare him for the wild ride he experienced in taking his company public.
After the dust cleared, Friend was the CEO of his first publicly traded company, but one with a significantly reduced share value and market cap, as Carbonite (CARB) became the lone U.S. tech firm to IPO last week.
“Everybody was betting against us,” said Friend, whose Boston-based online backup company reduced its debut share price from $17 to $10 in order to get out, in one the worst trading periods in nearly three years. At the close of trading on Wednesday, Carbonite’s share price had jumped to more than $15. “We kind of proved everybody wrong, but it was definitely a high-wire act.”
The same week saw nine other companies shelve their IPO plans. So why did Carbonite plow ahead?
“Maybe the reward for taking a bit of punishment on the price is that we’re getting a lot of publicity,” said Friend, who co-founded Carbonite in 2005, after wasting $1,300 in a failed bid to retrieve his daughter’s term paper from a dead laptop. “We want to do a lot of strategic acquisitions over the next five years and it’s a lot easier if you have a public currency.”