The global trade management software provider Amber Road’s initial public offering
Friday exceeded analysts' expectations, with the firm netting more than $62 million as its stock surged 33 percent above its offered price by the end of the day.
Amber Road Chief Executive Officer Jim Preuninger said the software vendor, which counts GE, Walmart and Monsanto among its customers, had been planning to go public for several years.
“If you’re going to do it right, it’s a long process,” he told American Shipper
in a conversation Friday. “It’s about making the right kinds of investments and putting in the right processes to become a public company. We made a firm commitment to do this last spring. We conducted the registration process with the (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) last fall. We wanted to get 2013 behind us.”
Not that 2013 was bad -- on the contrary, Preuninger said the company’s robust growth (in the fourth quarter, in particularly) likely had much to do with convincing investors that it was on an upward trajectory. The company also completed the purchase of a Chinese-based GTM software provider with unique functionality for the China trade market.
“Investors understand that global trade is huge, and that being an importer or exporter, and managing transportation, and complying with trade laws is not easy,” he said.
Amber Road’s products are targeted at shippers -- large and small -- that need assistance with trade compliance and supply chain management. The products range from comparatively basic modules that help shippers keep up with restricted party screening and product classification requirements to more advanced transportation execution and visibility tools that integrate with broader ranging compliance tools.
“The investments in completing the build-out of our suite and ramping up sales infrastructure give us the tools to grow significantly,” he said. “We’re a solid company, and investors saw that we had measured investment while attaining good growth. We take a patient, long-term view.”
Preuninger said the funds raised through the IPO “give us the freedom and the opportunity to look around and see what we can make of it.”
He pointed to the strategic acquisition of the Chinese GTM provider as an example of the company’s willingness to invest in areas that complete its offering.
“A lot of people thought we were crazy for making the acquisition and going public at the same time,” he said. “But, when an opportunity comes along, you’ve got to do what is right for the business.”
Preuninger said Amber Road will continue its “aggressive” product development. Its prospectus for the IPO hinted that continued innovation was crucial to maintaining its edge in a crowded and competitive market.
“I know it sounds sort of boring, but we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’re very customer-focused.”