Seven years after spinning out of LinkedIn, cloud software developer Confluent is going public.
Confluent, which sells software that developers can use to quickly move data for use inside applications, filed its IPO prospectus on Tuesday, seeking to become the latest enterprise business to go from open-source project to multibillion-dollar public company.
Revenue in the first quarter jumped 51% from a year earlier to $77 million, with most of its sales coming through subscriptions. The company’s net loss widened to $44.5 million from $33.6 million, as sales and marketing costs jumped.
At the foundation of Confluent’s software is Apache Kafka, which got its start inside of LinkedIn. The founders of Confluent — Jay Kreps, Jun Rao and Neha Narkhede — created Kafka in 2011 and then formed Confluent in 2014 with an investment of about $500,000 from LinkedIn. The company was most recently valued at $4.5 billion in a round last year led by Coatue Management and Altimeter Capital.
“We rolled it out at scale for early use cases at LinkedIn, handling data streams with billions of messages,” Kreps, Confluent’s CEO, wrote in a letter in the prospectus. “But even then, our ambition was bigger. Kafka was built to be open source, and we wanted it to do much more than serve one use case in one company.”