Cybersecurity firm Tenable closes up 31%

Key Points
  • The company's subscription-based model has been attractive to investors, according to a principal at Renaissance Capital.
  • Cybersecurity companies have been doing well, but the field is a tricky one for investors.
Celebration during Tenable IPO at the Nasdaq market site, July 26, 2018.
Source: Nasdaq

Cyber risk management company Tenable closed out its first day of trading up 31.5 percent, after jumping 40 percent in its public market debut Thursday.

Shares opened at $33.00, nudging the company's market value above $3 billion, and closed at $30.25 per share.

The company raised $250 million in the public offering, pricing its 10.9 million shares at $23 a piece, above the expected range of $20 to $22 per share. The stock trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "TENB."

It's an impressive fundraising for cybersecurity IPOs and particularly sizable for Tenable's niche, which is subscription-based cyber risk management tools. The company offers tools for companies to quantify in dollars the damage that could be caused by various types of security breaches, and caters to executives and board members worried about the risk from breaches and the cybersecurity professionals who work for them.

"The strength here is it's growing really fast, there's lots of recurring revenue and the valuation looks reasonable," said Kathleen Smith, a principal at Renaissance Capital, which manages IPO exchange-traded funds.

Tenable has proven it can keep subscriptions going at its approximately 24,000 client firms and that it can "expand inside of accounts," meaning customers are getting bigger subscriptions after signing on, a positive sign for investors, she said.

There are some issues to watch out for as well, Smith said: "They are investing a lot in sales and marketing, and gross margins have declined due to a shift in the subscription model." There are also a lot of competitors in the market, said Smith.

Two of its closest publicly-traded peers have traded very well so far this year: both Qualys is up roughly 60 percent and Rapid7 is up nearly 70 pecent on the year.

Tenable likely won't be the only cybersecurity firm going public this year — Crowdstrike, which helps companies fix breaches and minimize the damage, and Tanium, which helps companies monitor security vulnerabilities on "endpoints" like personal computers in a company, are also reportedly considering IPOs.

—CNBC's Sara Salinas contributed to this report.

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