Shares of Cloudflare skyrocketed as much as 21% in its first day of trading on the public market on Friday. The company opened trading at $ 18 after it priced its stock exchange at $ 15 per share on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the company raised its stock price to between $ 12 and $ 14 per share, up from the previous range from $ 10 to $ 12 per share share. The company offered more than 35 million shares for sale, collecting $ 525 million in the process.
In an interview after the debut, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" the company chose to bet on an IPO when it was clear that its size and scope justified the move. The company joins a rapidly expanding IPO class in 201
"When a company comes to a certain scale and size … you owe it to your employees and investors to run the company as a public company, so you might as well be a public company," he said.
Cloudflare, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NET," provides cloud-based networking services to businesses, helping them distribute their content and keep it available online. In its original prospectus, Cloudflare reported a net loss of $ 36.8 million on $ 129.2 million in revenue for the first half of 2019, with revenues up 48% and losses up 13% from the same period a year ago. It counted 74,873 paying customers from the first half of 2019, including companies such as IBM, the Discord chat service and Zendesk.
The company has been in the spotlight for its involvement in several controversies. Earlier this year, it moved to pull the plug on the controversial Internet forum 8chan, after it was discovered that the site was used by the El Paso shooter to post an anti-immigrant and anti-government mass. In 2017, the company terminated service with the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer following the deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"We have always been reluctant to make those content decisions, but every time while getting platforms that are really designed to be awful places," Price said in the CNBC interview. "And when that happens, I think the technology companies' responsibility is to step up. So while I think we're in a different position than a Facebook or YouTube, over time, we want to make sure the Internet is a better place."