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Pure Storage trades lower on IPO day

Pure Storage made its trading debut on Wall Street on Wednesday, but its stock price was down more than 4 percent by midday, to $16.29.

The flash storage company's shares opened at $16.74, shy of its initial public offering price of $17.

More than 5.8 million shares were traded in the first five minutes of trading alone.

Despite the lower-than-expected opening, CEO Scott Dietzen told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" he's encouraging his team to think long term.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint. ... Don't look at the stock day to day, think in quarters and in years, because that is the kind of company we're looking to build," he said.

Dietzen also told CNBC he's confident in his company's ability to do well among competitors in the storage industry.

"To have success in this market you've got to craft a software model that takes great advantage of the flash. You've got to build the right hardware, you've got to build the right cloud automation, and we think you have to change the business model, too," he said. "None of our big competitors have any one of those four ingredients right yet, and we've got a two year lead that we're going to grow over time."

Pure Storage hasn't made a profit since it's inception in 2009, but according to a recent report by Renaissance Capital, PSTG is the fastest-growing company in storage industry history.

"If you look year over year for every dollar of expense we're adding a $1.50 in revenue. Over the last three years we've improved operating efficiency five fold," Dietzen said. "So even as the business has been scaling, it has been getting more profitable."

However, Dietzen said his company is striving for more than just profitability.

"It's a $24 billion market. We're playing for the number one share in that market, so this is about growth but it's also about growth and improving the health of our business as we go," he said.

So far in 2015, only 19 tech companies have gone public, according to Dealogic. In fact, 46 companies shelved their IPO plans because stocks have been experiencing their worst quarterly performance since 2011.

Pure Storage is the first company from the 2015 CNBC Disruptors 50 List to go public.

— Reuters contributed to this report