Silicon Valley Cheers as Twilio Blows Past Expectations in First Day of Trading

In an explosive public market debut that may pave the way for future tech offerings, shares in cloud communications startup Twilio skyrocketed to nearly twice their IPO price Thursday.

San Francisco-based Twilio saw a first-day pop of nearly 92 percent in its closely-watched opening day of trading, even after pricing its stock above the anticipated range. It was the biggest day-one bump a tech company has seen in more than two years, according to Renaissance Capital, which manages IPO-focused exchange-traded funds.

That's good news for the Silicon Valley tech community, which has been in an IPO drought since Square went public in November.

"I think it's a shot in the arm for Silicon Valley tech companies," said Kathleen Smith, a principal at Renaissance Capital "It will lay the path for others to follow."

Twilio took a risk stepping into the public market when it did -- it priced its IPO on the eve of Britain's vote on whether to remain in the European Union, a move that could have reverberated through the global economy. But experts say Twilio's pricing, as well as pent-up market demand for tech stock, combined to give the company a first-day performance that surprised even optimistic industry watchers.

In a show of confidence, the company Wednesday priced its shares at $15, above the expected $12-$14 range. The following day Twilio opened at $23.99 -- 60 percent above its IPO price -- and soared to $29.61 Thursday afternoon before closing at $28.79.

"You can certainly feel the excitement from people," said Chris Taylor, executive vice president of global research, thought leadership and partnerships for analytics company Ipreo. "I think people were hoping for this to be a success. Almost a doubling in the open market -- I don't think many people were imagining that type of activity."

The first-day surge turned Twilio from a...

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