×

Tech unicorn Nutanix pops more than 130% at public debut

Nutanix made its public debut on Friday on the Nasdaq stock market, soaring more than twice its pricing.

Shares closed at $37 on Friday afternoon, up 131.25 percent, after opening at $26.50. On Thursday night, it priced at $16 a share, already well above the expected range of $13 to $15.

The high-flying stock price put the Nutanix IPO on pace for the best debut of the year, after Twilio rocketed more than 91 percent higher on its first day of trading in June.

Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey said that while the instantaneous growth his company saw Friday morning is a good sign, he is hoping to gauge the stock's "true health" sooner rather than later.

"All I want is a healthy start that doesn't actually gyrate too high and low," he told CNBC's "Squawk Alley," noting concern about the "mob mentality" that often surrounds tech unicorn stocks of companies like his.

Nutanix IPO celebration at the Nasdaq market site in New York, September 30, 2016.
Source: Nasdaq
Nutanix IPO celebration at the Nasdaq market site in New York, September 30, 2016.

The cloud-computing company's IPO was one of the most anticipated in an sparse landscape for technology offerings. By going public, it may test the market for other billion-dollar start-ups looking to make the leap.

Though an estimated three-dozen software companies have been privately valued above $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, many major venture-backed companies have stood on the sidelines of the public market this year.

There have been 75 IPO deals so far this year, down from 140 at this time in 2015, Ernst & Young told CNBC earlier this month. Three venture-backed U.S. tech companies went public this month, but Nutanix is bigger than those three companies combined.

The company simplifies cloud-computing and cuts costs by letting clients keep some of their data in-house and outsource other pieces to the cloud. It has clients like Aflac, Best Buy, eBay, Honda, financial services providers, health-care companies and the federal government.

Dheeraj Pandey, CEO of Nutanix, poses at the Nasdaq market site in New York, September 30, 2016.
Source: Nasdaq
Dheeraj Pandey, CEO of Nutanix, poses at the Nasdaq market site in New York, September 30, 2016.

Despite the market's explosive reaction to the IPO, Pandey said the company will put in more and more "guard rails" every year in favor of "growth at something more measured as opposed to growth at all costs."

"I think the market keeps us honest. Obviously [we] realize that there could be a lot of wastage in the name of growth, and as the company grows larger we have to be more mindful of what wastage means," Pandey said.

The CEO continued, "I think it's going to be a pretty healthy balance between taking care of our customers, our employees, and our partners but also making sure that we have some […] checks and balances built in."

— CNBC's Ari Levy, Gina Francolla and Michelle Fox contributed to this report.