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Scaling a Pre-IPO Enterprise Software Company: Anaplan CEO Fred Laluyaux (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Apr 6th 2014

Sramana: The IPO window is open now. You know the cycles we have gone through. Are you looking at an IPO?

Fred Laluyaux: Yes, we are. We are going to have to. I am not a big fan of running a public company but we are an enterprise platform for some of the largest companies in the world. If you are a point solution, nobody cares, but we are a platform running mission critical processes. The Fortune 500 companies are replacing SAP and Oracle with Anaplan. They need to see that we are not going to be sold the next day. This is one of the main drivers for us. When you become a platform for those large companies, you have to show that you are playing the game the way they expect you to.

Sramana: There is no guarantee that just because you go public that you will not get purchased.

Fred Laluyaux: You are absolutely right. I think that with us being a platform play, it makes us a bit different. There are folks like PeopleSoft who were acquired even though they did not want to. However, I think if we are public, I will have more tools as a CEO to build value. At some point, you are less exposed being public.

Sramana: I believe you are very exposed in a public market. There is a lot of capital in the system right now. You can raise financing easily at this point.

Fred Laluyaux: We don’t have financing issues. There are two reasons to go public. First, when you deal with public investors, there is a different set of expectations. VCs expect a return within a certain timeframe. Public investors have a different timeframe.

Sramana: That is a very rational reason to go public. All investors right now are in mature deals and see a strong IPO window.

Fred Laluyaux: It is not a single argument, and I agree with you. Second, I think there is a bit more protection as a public company. Our current investors are happy to stay on for a while because the value is increasing rapidly. We are a late stage venture at this point. I see it as a better opportunity to put a defined value. I want to provide employees with a liquidity event. I also see it as a path for additional acquisitions. That is easier to manage as a public company.

Sramana: Fantastic. It has been very good talking to you and I appreciate your time.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Scaling a Pre-IPO Enterprise Software Company: Anaplan CEO Fred Laluyaux
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