App maker Appian soars 25% on first day as a public company

It was off to the races for Appian, which debuted on the Nasdaq on Thursday, soaring 25 percent on its first day on the stock market.

After pricing shares at $12, the company closed the day above $15, valuing the company at about $900 million.

The company helps its enterprise and government customers with app development. “Appian is the easiest way for companies to build their own software,” founder and CEO Matt Calkins told TechCrunch. He touted a “patent that allows us to interpret a set of objects for different devices.”

Appian has a lot of competition, including Salesforce, ServiceNow, IBM and Oracle. But they hope their approach makes it so that people can build applications with little coding required. The applications can be for PC, tablets, smartphones and wearable tech.

It was a long time coming for the Virginia-based company, which was founded in 1999, when Calkins was just 26. He said their business concept gained more transaction when apps were popularized in recent years.

Appian’s revenue is growing. They reported $132.9 million last year, compared to $111.2 million in 2015 and $89 million in 2014.

But they’re not quite profitable. The company incurred a loss of $12.5 million last year. Appian lost $7 million in the year before that and $17.1 million in 2014.

Calkins has the largest stake and Novak Biddle Venture Partners owned 21.5 percent prior to the offering, after investing just $10 million. New Enterprise Associates (NEA) owns 11.7 percent, due to a secondary transaction.

The company picked the right time to go public from a markets perspective. The S&P and Nasdaq saw record highs on Thursday. Tech IPOs have also performed well in recent months.