The company posted $67 million in revenue last year and is among the oldest players in the rapidly growing market for "on demand" software, but NetSuite has yet to turn a profit.
On demand software has become an attractive target for investors, largely due to the success of Salesforce.com , whose shares have quadrupled since its IPO three years ago to a total market capitalization of almost $5 billion.
Salesforce was founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff, a former Oracle executive and protegee of Ellison. In its most recent fiscal year it pulled in almost $500 million in revenue and reported net income of $2.7 million.
NetSuite was founded about four months before Salesforce, but has yet to turn a profit. It reported a loss of $23.4 million last year and has an accumulated deficit of $193 million.
NetSuite sells software used by some 5,300 small and medium-sized businesses to run their companies, handling tasks from accounting and payroll to running Web stores, Internet marketing and salesforce automation.
The company's filing did not give details on how many shares it expected to sell in the offering, or its expected price range.
NetSuite other chief rivals include Epicor Software , Intuit, Microsoft , SAP and Sage Group.
Credit Suisse and WR Hambrecht are underwriters for the IPO, the San Mateo, California-based company said in its preliminary prospectus with the SEC.