[HTML3]Yes, yes. There has been much discussion about Jive Software and their decision to move Jive corporate headquarters from Portland, Oregon, to those more southern climes near that bay thing. But fact of the matter is, Jive spent a good deal of time as a startup headquartered right here. And they continue to be part of our community.
So when Jive announces that they’ve secured another $30 million in funding, I’m going to cover it. Because some of that cash is going to come through the Portland office. And because the investor—juggernaut Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers—just happens to be the firm that just dropped $5 million in Puppet Labs’ proverbial pockets.
So what does the market think about this? Well, let’s take a look, shall we?
Jive has now raised $57 million altogether, making it among the best-funded companies ever to emerge from Portland’s startup scene. Yet its continued growth is in some ways bittersweet for Oregon, since much of the expansion is now taking place outside the state….
Jive retains Oregon roots, according to LeBlanc, a former Mercury vice president who works in Jive’s Portland office. While most of Jive’s recent employment growth has been outside Oregon, LeBlanc said the company is preparing to occupy another floor of its Portland office building in anticipation of additional jobs.
And if Jive does hold an IPO next year, some of the payoff will come to Oregon, too, where Jive — like many startups — supplemented employees’ wages with company stock. Such payouts are common in the Silicon Valley, but no Oregon company has held an IPO in six years.
John Cook of Seattle’s TechFlash saw it this way:
“Social business is the most important enterprise software category in a decade,” said Schlein in a statement. “Jive is the clear market leader, with a strong customer base, best-in-class technology and a deep management team. Jive is poised to become the next great enterprise software company.”
Words like those must be bittersweet for Portland. While it will certainly benefit from that growth, Portland sure could use a high-tech “anchor tenant” that called the city home.
And Xconomy Seattle notes “The investors are betting big that Jive has figured out how to harness some key elements of social media for business.”
But what about folks outside the region? Do they see this as yet another indication that Portland is a second tier tech town?
Not so much. They’re more focused on what this could mean. Like an IPO.
The last time the two Sand Hill Road firms invested $30 million in a startup together, “it was a company called Google,” said Zingale. The Jive CEO said the company may use some of the financing round for acquisitions.
Zingale took over as CEO earlier this year, first on an interim basis in February, then more permanently in May. When taking the reins full-time, Zingale told the Wall Street Journal that he’s hoping that Jive can have an initial public offering sometime next year. He told me today that a 2011 IPO is still his goal.
Or TechCrunch which lead with “Readying for an IPO…” in their headline:
It’s no surprise that Jive is readying for an IPO; rumors have been swirling that Jive has been interesting in going public for some time. And with Zingale at the helm, it looks like this dream is becoming a reality.
In my book, any Portland-oriented company getting cash is a good thing. Jive didn’t start here. And so it doesn’t really matter where they happen to be headquartered. Because some of that money is going to have to flow here.
And while I’m not confident that Jive will ever make it to the street with an IPO—I’ve always contended that they would be a much better acquisition for someone like Oracle or Cisco—there is one thing for certain: Portland will continue benefit from Jive.
You see, when Jive does have its liquidity event—and I have to think its going to be a successful one—a lot of those stock options will become cash right here in Portland. And a lot of the brilliant folks who have been employed by Jive throughout the years will have the opportunity and the wherewithal to fund some of their own ventures. Or spin off. Or spin up.
And that, my friends, is going to be an even more exciting time to be in the Portland startup scene.