MuleSoft's other top venture backers are also notching big wins, even though they trimmed their stakes after the lockup expired.
Lightspeed Venture Partners was MuleSoft's biggest investor at the time of the IPO, with 19.3 million shares. According to its latest SEC filing, the firm has cut its holdings by 36 percent and now owns 12.35 million shares worth $554 million. Hummer Winblad was the second-largest holder with 17.9 million shares, though it has since cut that number by 39 percent to 10.9 million, worth $489 million at the purchase price.
For those three venture firms and several other with sizable stakes, the acquisition will bring in significant chunks of cash at a time when Silicon Valley investors are hungry for actual returns, not just paper mark-ups.
The deal could get some high-valued private companies to consider coming off the sidelines and going public, said Yogesh Amle, head of software investment banking at Union Square Advisors.
"An IPO is an intermediate step to the eventual exit," said Amle. "This should definitely encourage other private companies to at least aspire to be public companies."
The tech IPO market is already showing some signs of life this year. Cloud security company Zscaler debuted last week and doubled in value in its first day of trading. Dropbox is scheduled to go public this week, with Spotify expected to hit the market in early April. Zuora filed its IPO prospectus last week and DocuSign has filed confidentially, according to TechCrunch.
It wasn't just big venture investors who made a killing on MuleSoft. Hong Kong-based investment firm Sylebra HK, which spun out of Coatue Management, bought 3.48 million shares in the fourth quarter, making it one of the company's top shareholders.
Based on the mid-price of MuleSoft's trading range in the fourth quarter, Sylebra parlayed an investment of about $75 million into $156 million in just a few months. The firm's total stake in MuleSoft, including over 1 million shares it purchased earlier, is worth $206 million.