Virtual event and webinar platform ON24 saw its share value jump 54% in the first hours of trading. The IPO follows a period of growth for the company, as B2B sales and marketing teams doubled down on engaging remotely with prospects and customers.

The IPO of 8,560,930 shares of common stock was priced to the public at $50.00 per share. The offering is split between 6,315,789 offered by ON24 itself, and 2,245,141 shares of common stock offered by other stockholders.

Read here: ON24 files for an IPO

We caught up with CMO Steve Daheb, recently recruited from Oracle, after ON24 was listed but shortly before trading started. “Hopefully in short order we’ll get a sense of how things are going, but the response has been pretty positive,” he said.

We asked how the pandemic affected the timing of the IPO. “I think our goal was to go IPO,” he said. “Obviously the lockdown helped accelerate it — we talk about 10 years of digital transformation or acceleration in 10 months. What’s been impressive to me is that it’s not just technology companies, but you see this transformation happening in financial services, manufacturing and healthcare providers; and so it’s all these different companies, not only trying to convert prospects to buyers, but trying to engage, which you can’t quite do physically any more.”

Daheb is betting that the business environment will favor vendors like ON24, even post-panedemic. “I personally don’t feel things are going to go back. Maybe we get into some sort of hybrid mode, but to be honest this is just a better way to do things. At a physical event, maybe I get a badge swipe or some engagement, but I don’t collect anywhere near the amount of data I do (with a virtual event.”

It has been reported that, among other things, the money raised through the IPO will be used to pay down debt. Has any thought been giving to investing in the product roadmap?

“We always have a healthy pace of innovation,” Daheb said. “We add to our experiences — things like breakout rooms; we continue to enhance our AI capabilities, and extend what we analyse so we can better personalize recommendations. I also think we have a really good eco-system story, so part of our go-to-market is investing in our eco-system — our APIs that connect to major CRMs and marketing automation, and integrating to BI tools.”

Daheb also referred to new market growth. Currently about 30% of ON24’s business is outside the U.S., having entered Japan and APAC, and growing business in EMEA.

Why we care. The first hours or days of trading may not tell us how successful the IPO is proving to be, but we’re going to be watching the performance of platforms like ON24 once in-person events become viable again. How permanent is the virtualization — in part at least — of our professional lives?

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

Read the original article here.

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