After going public, this $2.4 billion startup's valuation got slashed to $268 million - but the CEO has no regrets


apigee ceo chet kapoor


Apigee CEO Chet Kapoor

Apigee, a software data management management company, was reportedly valued at $2.4 billion the last time it raised private investor cash in the summer of 2014.


Then, in April 2015, Apigee held an IPO at $17 a share, valuing the company at $494.5 million, which is a steep dip.

Worse, Apigee closed out 2015 trading at $8.61 per share, or 49.35% less than its IPO price. As one of 2015's few tech IPOs, Apigee is a contributing factor to a growing sense of dread among venture investors.

And then Apigee kept sliding into 2016. At the closing bell on Wednesday, it's trading at $7.75, at a market cap of $268 billion, less than half of its IPO price.

But Apigee CEO Chet Kapoor says he regrets nothing about the choice to IPO - and that when it comes to Apigee's future, he has plenty of cause for optimism.


"It's been an interesting ride," Kapoor says. "I think an IPO is a good idea."

'You have to be digital'

First and foremost, Kapoor points out that Apigee actually reported a solid quarter this week, beating guidance on its revenues.

That news alone sent the stock up more 17% during trading on Wednesday to the $7.75 figure mentioned above - which is movement in the right direction, at least.

Essentially, Kapoor believes that regardless of the company's stock price today, Apigee is still the very best at what it does.

And what Apigee does is help companies manage application programming interfaces, or APIs - the "hooks" that lets apps talk to each other - helping customers like Walgreens quickly build out a mobile app strategy. It's a huge market, he says.


"You have to do APIs to be digital, and you have to be digital," Kapoor says.

"Getting the message out and kicking a--"

Furthermore, Kapoor says that the IPO itself actually helped with culture inside the company.

As a private company, Apigee was shy about sharing hard financial stats with anybody outside of the executive suite. But as a public company, there's no hiding the exact figures of how the company is doing. It adds to an internal sense of camraderie.

"To see that direct correlation between what they're doing and the the top line and the bottom line is empowering," Kapoor says.

It also means that, perhaps counterintuiviely, at this low price Apigee has an easier time with recruitment, Kapoor says. If you accept that the market is huge and that Apigee stock is undervalued, then it's "still early enough to make money" for employees, he says.


IBM Watson - larger

Ben Hider / Getty Images

IBM Watson

Indeed, Kapoor boasts that Apigee has an executive team that's stuck around through thick and thin. That team includes CTO Anant Jhingran, the ex-IBM Fellow who once led research on the IBM Watson supercomputer, who's been with Apigee since 2012.

So Kapoor sees his job now as just showing Wall Street what he already knows - that Apigee is primed to rule a growing market, and that the company isn't going anywhere.

"We'll get out of this, we're building a company for the long haul," Kapoor says. "It's a combination of getting the message out and kicking a--."

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