Aconex on cloud nine in $140 million float

Cloud-based tech company and former Smart50 finalist, Aconex, has joined the long list of Aussie companies to float in 2014, debuting on the Australian Securities Exchange today in a $312 million public listing.

The float, which was rumoured in October, is expected to raise $50 million through the issue of new shares that, together with $90 million raised by the sale of existing shares, will raise a total of approximately $140 million for the technology company.

Shares will be issued this morning at $1.90 each, with more than 26 million shares available.

Aconex, which uses its cloud-based platform to collaborate on large-scale construction projects, recorded $66.2 million in revenue last year and is forecast to turn over $85 million in 2014-15. With 41 offices in 22 countries including the US, China and India, the company employs more than 250 people worldwide.

Leigh Jasper, who co-founded Aconex with his former school classmate Robert Phillpot in 2000, told SmartCompany today was an important milestone for the company but “not an end in and of itself”.

“We’re really excited,” says Jasper. “We’re excited to see how it will continue to help the business grow.”

Jasper, who along with Phillpot will retain an 8% stake each in Aconex, says many of the company’s employees are also shareholders and stand to benefit from today’s listing.

“It’s a great day for our staff who have worked hard for years and for our investors, who we’re very thankful for, that have helped support us from early days,” he says.

Jasper says the money raised will primarily be used as working capital to grow Aconex and invest in new products, sales and marketing.

“We’re also looking at bolt-on acquisitions post-IPO,” he says, pointing to cloud-based companies as possible targets.

“Primarily [we would look at] tech companies that complement our solution to our customers.”

Jasper says the IPO question had been posed to the business for many years.

“People often asked us, but we were focused on the business first and foremost, and believed an IPO would eventually take care of itself,” he says.

“But we got to point that we thought it was the right time to go to market. I think there is so much opportunity ahead, there is years of growth yet, so it felt like the right time to take advantage and get that financial flexibility.”

Jasper says while he can’t mention any names, he is very excited about the new investors who have come aboard.

“They are great long-term investors who see long-term potential in the company,” he says.

Jasper believes Aconex’s strong culture has been at the heart of its growth over 14 years, giving the company a “competitive advantage”, and he says it will be robust enough to survive the move to a public company.

“The culture is very strong and very resilient and we will maintain that post-IPO,” he says.

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