The UpTake: Startups vying for supremacy in the discount space can certainly learn from Coupons.com founder and chief executive officer Steven Boal, who oversaw a successful IPO Friday. It was a long time coming, but he says the time was right.
Coupons.com founder Steven Boal had an initial public offering for his company Friday that was successful by all going-public measures: with a pop in price of nearly 100 percent after its public debut under the ticker symbol NYSE: COUP, it is a contender as one of the top IPOs so far in 2014.
After raising $168 million in its road show, shares of the coupon site jumped from $16 at the start of trading and closed at about $30 per share Friday, leaving the company with a valuation of $2.2 billion. It was a long time coming for Boal, a former Wall Street technology executive, who started the Mountain View, California-based company in 1998 during the dot-com boom when he was inspired by his father-in-law's penchant for clipping newspaper coupons and betted (correctly) that readers' eyes were going to shift to online news. Coupons.com may seem like an old fogey in the Internet discount world, but Boal is saying the timing felt right.
"We've been growing for 16 years and now we're operating at scale and working with our large clients and retailers in a much more meaningful way," he told Re-code after the IPO. "Bigger companies like the confidence of working with bigger companies and public companies. Institutionally, I think bigger companies don't like working with smaller companies. ... This gives them confidence that we are a long-term, financially healthy company."
Coupons.com survived the dot-com bust era, focusing on digital coupons for groceries and health and beauty products, making money each time the coupons are printed or downloaded, or when digital Discount are used online. Its current partners include big brands like Del Monte Foods, Campbell's Soup and Walgreen's, and it reports 1.3 billion coupon transactions last year, providing coupons through deals with 700 consumer packaged goods companies representing 2,000 brands.