CEO who journeyed from a Himalayan village to Wall Street sees his cybersecurity IPO close up 106%

Key Points
  • Zscaler CEO and co-founder Jay Chaudhry sees shares of his firm's IPO open 72 percent higher.
  • "People are mobile. Applications are sitting in the cloud. So we had to build security in the cloud," Chaudhry says.
Zscaler CEO: We built security in the cloud

Jay Chaudhry grew up in a small Himalayan village, came to the U.S. for graduate school, and started four companies.

Chaudhry then put his life savings into a fifth venture, Zscaler, which surged 72 percent at the open in its first session of trading on Nasdaq Friday, before easing up a bit. The company closed up 106 percent at $33 a share.

Late Thursday, a bumped-up 12 million shares of the cloud cybersecurity firm's initial public offering were priced at $16 each, above the estimated range. It's the first so-called tech unicorn, with a valuation of over $1 billion, to go public this year.

The Zscaler CEO and co-founder spoke on CNBC, before the stock opened, about what he said sets his company apart from traditional cybersecurity firms for global customers such as Siemens and General Electric.

Zscaler rings the opening bell at the Nasdaq exchange in New York, March 16, 2018.
Source: Nasdaq

"In the old world of security, they would have to buy and deploy security boxes in every office," Chaudhry said.

"In our world, they simply point cloud-bound traffic to Zscaler," he continued. "So your traffic hits Zscaler as a security checkpost, inspection happens, you go where you need to go. We make sure that nothing bad comes in [and] nothing good and confidential leaks out."

Zscaler is certainly in a competitive industry, with the likes of Palo Alto Networks, FireEye, Cisco Systems and Symantec.

"The world has changed. People are mobile. Applications are sitting in the cloud. So we had to build security in the cloud," Chaudhry said.

"The new security can be put in place for employees so they go to the cloud, they [use the] internet safely," he said.

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