Atlassian surges in debut
Shares of Australian business software maker Atlassian soar in their Nasdaq debut.
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They’re known as the “Royals” and “the chosen ones” — the select few invited to be in New York on Thursday morning to ring the bells celebrating the opening of the stock exchange and Australian tech darling Atlassian’s massive IPO.
About 40 Atlassian employees — many of whom were hand-picked by co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar in the company’s early years — celebrated overnight as they became multi-millionaires and Atlassian became a company with a market cap of $US5.74 billion ($7.9 billion).
Atlassian, a leading provider of collaboration software for teams with products, opened for trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market on December 10, 2015. Photo: Christopher Galluzzo
By the end of Thursday’s trading in the US, however, more than just those 40 became millionaires. Former Atlassian employees say more than 100 staff are now either millionaires or multi-millionaires.
It’s also understood the shares of a number of staff who joined in recent years are now worth six figures.
“There are going to be a hundred people who are going to be millionaires today — at least on paper,” a former Atlassian employee, who didn’t wish to be named, told Fairfax Media.
Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar (right) and Mike Cannon-Brookes. Photo: Trevor Collens
They added that the Royals had been “going out on lavish dinners and celebrations” while in New York in recent days and were already discussing how they should splurge their cash, and whether it should be on luxury cars.
Many are also considering investing their money in Australian start-ups, or starting their own.
“Mike and Scott’s legacy will be beyond Atlassian,” the former Atlassian employee said. “They want to make billionaires in Australia that are going to invest in Australian companies — the next wave of start-ups”
Those likely to make the most from the IPO are those who joined between 2002, when the company started, and 2008. That’s when Atlassian offered employees the chance to buy shares at a much lower price than $US27, the price shares were trading for on Thursday as the market closed. For employees who were offered — and purchased — shares at 50 cents several years ago, their stake is now 5300 per cent more valuable.
While some employees chose to hedge their bets and sell some of their shares last year for $US16 to T. Rowe Price and Dragoneer Investment Capital in a financing round, many are understood to have held on to most of them.
When Atlassian received that financing, which valued the company at $US3.3 billion, Mr Cannon-Brookes declined to specify how many millionaires his company had made at the time, but said it was “not double digit”.
“That number [of millionaires] blew both Scott and I away,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said at the time to The Australian.
“That was probably the biggest achievement to come out of this [new investment] and [something] we hadn’t thought about.”
There’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian — as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would say — or, in this case, to be an Atlassian employee.