Upwork Enters the Market With a Bang

Upwork Inc. (NASDAQ: UPWK) entered the market with a bang on Wednesday. The stock originally priced at $15 per share, on the high end of its expected price range of $12 to $14 a piece. However, it actually entered at $23, over 50% higher, but it has backed off from there.

The company offered 12.48 million shares, with an overallotment option for an additional 1.9 million, and at the $15 price the entire offering is valued up to roughly $215 million.

The underwriters for the offering are Citigroup, Jefferies, RBC Capital Markets, Stifel and JMP Securities.

This company operates the largest online global marketplace that enables businesses to find and work with highly skilled freelancers as measured by gross services volume (GSV). Freelancers are an increasingly sought-after, critical and expanding segment of the global workforce.

In the 12 months ended June 2018, the platform enabled $1.56 billion of GSV across 2.0 million projects between roughly 375,000 freelancers and 475,000 clients in over 180 countries.

Upwork’s platform reduces inefficiencies associated with searching for, contracting and collaborating with, and paying highly skilled freelancers for short-term and longer-term projects. As early innovators in this space, the firm has built an expansive and unique repository of data on our platform, which, when combined with its machine learning capabilities, enables it to better connect clients with the best freelancers for their projects. As a result, clients are able to obtain specialized talent in less time and at a lower cost compared to traditional channels.

In the filing, the company described its finances as follows:

For the six months ended June 30, 2017 and 2018, our total revenue was $95.5 million and $121.9 million, respectively, representing a period-over-period growth rate of 28%. For the twelve months ended June 30, 2018, our total revenue was $228.9 million. In 2016 and 2017, our marketplace revenue was $138.5 million and $178.0 million, respectively, representing an annual growth rate of 29%.

The company intends to use the net proceeds from this offering primarily for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Shares of Upwork were last seen up about 40% at $21.09, with a range of $20.71 to $23.49 on the day thus far. Also as of noon Eastern, about 5.5 million shares had moved.