Tenable Holdings closed its initial public offering last month, raising $288 million, the largest IPO for a security company in the last five years, according to the company.
Now the Columbia cybersecurity firm plans to use the offering as a springboard for the company’s growth as it remains the only cyber exposure company.
“First and foremost, we’re in a large and growing market,” said Steve Vintz, the firm’s chief financial officer. “Companies that are well capitalized such as Tenable are poised to take considerable market share and continue to grow.”
The firm’s specialty is cyber exposure, meaning it assesses the risk to a company or government agency’s data through the internet. And as we move further into the cyber age and cloud computing, more and more entry points to a company’s data exist.
And it’s not just computer terminals and servers these days that offer access to a company’s data. There are billions of internet of things devices, ranging from tablets and smartwatches to thermostats and coffee makers.
One hacker stole casino data through an internet-connected thermometer inside a fish tank.
“This stuff is all around us,” Vintz said. “It’s a big problem and it’s why, frankly, we talk about cyber exposure, were talking about not just cyber risk but business risk.”
That widespread risk has created a large and growing market for Tenable, one the firm hopes to continue to grow in with the help of the money raised during the IPO.
The capital raised gives the firm the flexibility to acquire complementary technologies, expand its sales team and bring more products to the market, Vintz said.
“Having access to this kind of capital it gives us the confidence that we will be able to continue to invest,” he said. “We think we have a lot of runway in front of us.”
The firm hopes it can continue to be a growing and leading company in between Baltimore and Washington.
That includes adding jobs, but Vintz said that would be nothing new for the firm.
“As an organization, we’re adding hundreds of employees a year and a lot of that growth is happening right here in the state of Maryland,” he said. “We think this community can support a large and growing public company.”
Tenable announced its plans to go public at the end of June, kicking off a sprint to pitch the company to potential investors.
The days leading up to the public offering were a whirlwind for Tenable executives. They visited Tenable offices and met with investors worldwide, including Los Angeles and Australia. On the day the offering opened, executives were at NASDAQ, where the firm was listed under the symbol TENB.
“It’s a pretty grueling process but a lot of time you are running on adrenaline,” Vintz said. “You are excited to tell the story. You feel a certain responsibility to your employees.”
The pricing of the offering was whirlwind, too. Originally, the firm intended to list its shares between $17 and $19. That was upgraded to $19 to $21. Eventually, the shares were priced at $22 and opened at $33.
“It’s a clear sign that investors are excited about what we are doing and the opportunity ahead,” Vintz said.
He also believes that Tenable’s successes to date can be an example for other companies looking to grow in Maryland and for venture capital looking for places to invest outside of the Silicon Valley/Bay Area bubble.
A lot of that can come from recognizing Maryland’s strengths in cyber, including its proximity to the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. But the state also has a lot of intangible benefits, Vintz said.
“Great companies can be built in the state of Maryland,” he said. “The fact that we have access to a strong labor pool here, a great standard of living, home to some great security shops in and round the area.”
With a long-term leased signed for Columbia’s new downtown Meriweather District, Tenable hopes to be a part of the state’s future as well.
“We are putting our money where our mouth is,” Vintz said. “We’re excited to be here and make a long term commitment.”