Domain name and Web hosting company GoDaddy went public Wednesday, to roaring success. Straight out of the gate, the Scottsdale, Arizona company's shares rose 31 percent to $26 a share.
That's not bad, even by today's rich tech valuation standards, and eye-popping IPOs.
But GoDaddy's IPO caps a decade-long attempt to reach the public markets, and an even longer, multi-decade effort to build a company. Serial entrepreneur Bob Parsons founded the company in 1997 with $35 million of his own funds, stemming from the sale of his previous company. Today, GoDaddy is the biggest domain name and web hosting company in the world, with 13 million customers. It's also been on the Inc. 5000 eleven times.
Here are some key takeaways from chief financial officer Scott Wagner, who spoke with Inc. shortly after the opening bell on Wednesday.
- The IPO is just the beginning: "You have to continue to deliver and grow," Wagner says, adding that Parsons never took a dime of outside money to build the company. Although GoDaddy isn't profitable today, the business still has hundreds of millions of dollars in free cash flow to build and deliver new products.
- Customers still come first: "In the early years, the founding tenet of this business was caring for our customers," Wagner says. Today you can still reach customer care specialists 24 hours a day to talk about any issue that overlaps with your domain and website, including issues you may have running a software product unrelated to GoDaddy.
- Use your IPO to reach a wider audience: "The IPO introduces the company to the general investing public in a way we hope and expect will raise the attention of people to what the company does at a global scale," Wagner says.
Even if you have no plans to go public in the next few years, these are all things to think aboout as you plan to grow.