The enterprise software IPO is back with a vengeance. Mulesoft, Okta, and Yext have all filed to go public.
3 Enterprise Software IPO Candidates
These enterprise software IPO candidates describe themselves as follows:
Our mission is to help organizations change and innovate faster by making it easy to connect the world’s applications, data, and devices.
We are entering a new era of business where competitive advantage is no longer primarily determined by the physical assets organizations own and control, but rather by how they connect and orchestrate a multitude of physical and technology assets. (Italics are mine.) Winning organizations are “composable enterprises” that can quickly and effectively adopt new technologies and rapidly connect these assets to drive competitive advantage.
We are enabling a fundamental shift in organizations’ technology operating models and self-serve innovation by developers across the organization. Our customers use our Anypoint Platform to connect their applications, data, and devices into an “application network” in which these IT assets are pluggable using application programming interfaces, or APIs, instead of glued together with custom integration code.
Snarky Translation: It’s cool, new age middleware for the cloud world. Despite the snark, Mulesoft has a really cool product/business (see here) and the sentence I highlighted above is a profound insight. Platforms are as much “orchestrators” as software providers.
Yext is a knowledge engine. Our platform lets businesses manage their digital knowledge in the cloud and sync it to over 100 services, including Apple Maps, Bing, Cortana, Facebook, Google, Google Maps, Instagram, Siri and Yelp. Digital knowledge is the structured information that a business wants to make publicly accessible.
Snarky Translation: It’s a cool, new age content management system for local marketers.
Okta is the leading independent provider of identity for the enterprise. The Okta Identity Cloud is our category defining platform that enables our customers to securely connect people to technology, anywhere, anytime and from any device.
The Okta Identity Cloud helps organizations effectively harness the power of cloud and mobile technologies by securing users and connecting them with the applications they rely on.
Snarky Translation: It’s a cool new identity and access management company, a.k.a. single-sign-on for the cloud world.
The Common Thread: Connecting to Other Applications
The three enterprise software IPO companies are superficially quite different, but there is a strong, common thread. All three applications exist to help companies seamlessly connect to other cloud applications, platforms, or ecosystems. (Often these platforms or ecosystems are themselves competitors.)
- Yext helps companies syndicate location information across Google, Bing, Yelp and many other web properties.
- Okta helps manage identity for customers in the Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure (though with some skirmishes against the active directory folks!)
- Mulesoft makes it easier to connect “anything to anything”
These are “interstitial”, “glue”, or “pick and shovel” applications. These applications exist only because of the proliferation of SaaS and legacy systems that must be connected to! In a world without standards, they make interoperability between even competing applications manageable.
Federated Cloud Information
These “orchestration” companies will arise whenever there is information to be shared across cloud platforms or networks. This information could be:
- identity (Okta, Ping, Covisint, Exostar)
- location (Yext)
- financial/risk-related (Workiva)
- product (Hybris)
- supply chain
or other information. In all of these cases, companies may want a single source of truth to house their information and the “plumbing” to make this information easily accessible to other applications. Look for more applications of this type.