Qualys Makes IPOs Sexy in Wake of Flopped Facebook Offering
In May 2012, Facebook flopped the most anticipated IPO in history, causing many tech companies to hold off on going public. Despite the challenging market conditions and unfavorable media sentiment around IPOs, Qualys, a leading cloud security company, decided it was ready to go public. Mission North was hired one year prior to put a solid communication foundation in place to pave the way for a successful public offering and sustain momentum once the IPO buzz died down.
Prior to the S1 filing, Mission North ramped PR activity to increase coverage in a mix of business, tech, vertical and security media and ensure that Qualys was known as a highly visible and active industry leader. We pushed their executive leadership team and researchers, including the company’s CTO and CSO, to be vocal on emerging enterprise IT trends and security issues so reporters would consider Qualys a go-to source for expert commentary. We simultaneously led campaigns to elevate Qualys CEO Philippe Courtot’s profile beyond security and tech trades and into business press, while publishing product, partnership and business momentum news at a steady clip.
All of these activities were designed to maintain communications with media and a high volume of coverage even during the quiet period after the S1 filing. Mission North’s deep relationships with the IT security and financial media enabled us to put Qualys front of mind throughout the entire IPO process, from S1 to filing, which built anticipation around the IPO and ensured thoughtful and positive reporting about the company.
On Sept. 28, 2012, Qualys announced a $100 million initial public offering that was favorably covered by every major publication, including Bloomberg, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal and VentureBeat. During its first day trading on the NASDAQ, Qualys saw a 20 percent surge in its stock price. While a healthy opening day certainly helps set the stage for a stock’s future performance, it’s the long game that matters. As of January 31, 2014, the stock was trading at more than 140 percent over the initial price. On top of that, in 2013, Qualys has consistently ranked as one of the top performing cloud stocks by Forbes, second only to Amazon. Qualys’ impressive performance paved the road for other enterprise security IPOs to follow, including FireEye.