News Column

Biz Break: Nimble Storage shows off new high-end offering, avoids weakness after lockup expires

June 11, 2014

By Jeremy C. Owens, San Jose Mercury News

June 11--Today: Nimble Storage gains despite the end of its post-IPO lockup, as the San Jose company announces a new 'adaptive flash' offering that could challenge Pure Storage at the top of the market. Also: GoPro solidifies its IPO plans.

The Lead: Nimble eyes high end of storage market

Nimble Storage introduced Wednesday its biggest advance in flash storage technology since going public, helping the San Jose company's young stock avoid a dip as employees receive the right to sell shares.

Nimble debuted its new "adaptive flash" platform Wednesday morning, leveraging its software control of storage arrays to offer what CEO Suresh Vasudevan presented as the best of both data-storage worlds, with the capacity that hybrid systems with hard drives offer and the performance of all-flash arrays.

"It's all driven by the intelligence in our software, not so much by the fact that flash as hardware is somehow uniquely available to us -- it's available to everybody," Vasudevan said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning.

The new offering has been warmly embraced by companies with huge storage needs, such as those that offer cloud-based storage and software or need to crunch big data, as their needs for massive amounts of data storage as well as speedy retrieval will be met by Nimble's system, Vasudevan said. That should help the company's sales by expanding its market from an original target of mid-size companies.

"We're seeing rapid growth in really large enterprises and cloud service providers. And those are environments where the appetite for much larger systems, higher performing systems, is much, much greater," Vasudevan said, adding that the company has added more than 1,000 enterprise customers in the past six months.

Nimble leveraged drastic changes in the data-storage industry to deliver a big initial public offering at the end of 2013, going public at $21 a share and jumping as much as 60 percent in its debut. The stock has come under pressure since, though, as freshly public Silicon Valley companies suffered a sell-off that robbed them of more than half their market gains.

Nimble was expected to be pressured again Wednesday, as its post-IPO lockup period expired, allowing employees to sell shares -- the same event led to a huge downfall for Twitter earlier this year. However, after a plunge early in the shift to $22.40, Nimble stock gained as news of its new offering spread and ended the day with a 1.8 percent gain at $25.06.

Nimble competes with Sunnyvale-based NetApp as well as larger tech companies with more varied offerings, such as EMC and Hewlett-Packard, while also facing heavily funded startup Pure Storage, which is known for high-end storage offerings similar to Nimble's newest. Nimble grew revenues 134 percent in 2013 to $125.7 million, and expects that Wednesday's announcement will fuel continued growth.

"We're already doubling revenue on a year-over-year basis every quarter, so this allows us to continue our rapid growth trajectory," Vasudevan said.

SV150 market report: GoPro locks in plans for upcoming IPO

Wall Street slipped overall Wednesday, but Silicon Valley tech stocks experienced a slight uptick as one of its most anticipated future offerings solidified the expected terms of its IPO.

GoPro revised its IPO prospectus Wednesday morning to include much of the information left off its first filing, including details on potential pricing and the shares it will offer. The San Mateo action-camera company expects to sell 17.8 million shares at a price ranging from $21 to $24; at the high end, GoPro's IPO would rake in $427.2 million at a valuation just shy of $3 billion. Other aspects of the IPO are quite rare and democratic, as the company is allowing employees to offer shares, which could help avoid a big dip as the lockup expires. The offering is split exactly in half, with the company offering 8.9 million shares and CEO Nick Woodman, venture investors and dozens of employees selling bits of their stock stashes for another 8.9 million. In later filings, GoPro revealed that it was setting aside 1.5 percent of the shares offered for purchase by individual investors though a San Francisco service called Loyal3, allowing retail investors access at the IPO price usually reserved for large institutional financiers.

Google gained 15 cents to $568.45 as a previous vulnerability in Gmail was exposed and Bloomberg News reported that the Mountain View Web giant was investigating new ventures in the energy arena. Apple declined by a penny to $94.24 as a European investigation into its tax practices was made official, and Hewlett-Packard fell 1.1 percent to $33.25 while showing off a new high-end computing architecture it calls "The Machine." Twitter advanced 0.5 percent to $35.54 as tweets with code brought down its Tweetdeck platform, and rival Facebook declined 0.8 percent to $65.25 while kicking off a patents lawsuit. The SV150's largest gain of the day belonged to Synaptics, as the San Jose chipmaker jumped 26.6 percent to a record closing high of $84.19 after announcing a $475 million acquisition and better than expected financial performance Tuesday. Yahoo moved 0.6 percent higher to $36.51 as Asian investment Alibaba announced a U.S. focused e-commerce offering ahead of its planned IPO, and Intel dropped 1.2 percent to $27.92 despite praise from research firm IC Insights.

Up: Pandora, AMD, SanDisk, Gilead, Workday, SolarCity, Splunk, Yelp, Nvidia, eBay, SunPower, Netflix, Yahoo, Twitter, Tesla, Salesforce, Adobe, Applied Materials

Down: Intel, HP, Facebook, Zynga, Electronic Arts, Juniper, Symantec, Oracle, LinkedIn

The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 1.06, or 0.07 percent, to 1,488.17

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 6.06, or 0.14 percent, to 4,331.93

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 102.04, or 0.6 percent, to 16,843.88

And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 6.9, or 0.35 percent, to 1,943.89

Sign up for the 60-Second Business Break newsletter at www.siliconvalley.com. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.

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(c)2014 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com

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Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)


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