Acacia soars 35% in second tech IPO of the year

It has been a terrible year for tech IPOs. Until now, only SecureWorks braved the market and it didn’t go well.

But Acacia Communications listed on the public markets today and outperformed expectations. After pricing its offering at the top of the range at $23 per share and raising $103.5 million, the company soared to above $30 in its first day of trading, yielding a market cap of above $1 billion.

Backed by Matrix Partners, Capital Ventures, Summit Partners and others, Acacia has quietly built up a robust fiber optic transmission business and the company, which is growing and profitable, felt that its financials were in good enough shape to list right now.

“The IPO market has been pretty stagnant and has been a difficult environment,” said CEO Raj Shanamaugaraj. But going public “gives us the scale to go after bigger opportunities.”

Although the consumer benefits of high-speed fiber-based connections are easier to understand — no one wants to wait for Netflix to buffer — industry and government stand to gain from the more widespread introduction of fiber, too. Cloud services and smart cities will rely on the speed and strength of fiber connections as they expand — and that’s where Acacia comes in.

Acacia sits at the more large-scale end of the fiber market, advancing fiber optic connectivity in large-scale systems like long-haul connections (it has some submarine installations that stretch over 6,000 miles) and in interconnected data centers. The company offers speeds between 100 and 400 gigabits per second, making it possible for cloud services to rapidly stream vast amounts of data.

Acacia has also made several hardware innovations to improve fiber optic connections. The company has developed silicon optical interconnects to replace legacy products that are bulkier and consume more energy. Working in silicon allows routers to become more compact and energy-efficient, while requiring less temperature control. The company also aims to reduce the overall cost of fiber connectivity by automating some of the maintenance and calibration involved in fiber optic installations.

Acacia listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker “ACIA.”