Event management company Cvent is on pace to channel more than $7 billion in event and conference spending in 2012 and is now bigger than its next 10 competitors — combined. Add to that the fact that it just hired a new CFO with significant initial public offering expertise, and you have to wonder if Cvent is planning an IPO soon.
When I asked Cvent chief executive Reggie Aggarwal exactly that question, he didn’t dispute the possibility.
“Going public is one of the alternatives that you have to be prepared for,” he said. “If a CEO of a startup isn’t planning to go public … there’s something wrong. That means you’re big enough to stand on your own feet and not just part of a larger platform. We’ve always viewed ourselves a company that has a lot of legs and room to grow and could be an institution.”
Cvent provides a full suite of event management tools, from sourcing and securing locations to marketing solutions to mobile conference apps to registration and surveying software.
The company is projecting that conference and meeting organizers will book $9 billion in meetings in 2013, and while it doesn’t disclose exact revenue numbers, it looks to have a revenue run rate of about $100 million per year. It has been growing 50 percent annually.
Aggarwal was quick to add that before any IPO takes place, he wants Cvent to be at a revenue level that would be extremely attractive to tier-one IPO bankers such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. That level, he said, was at least $25 million in quarterly revenue. “We’re very comfortable with that,” he said.
Cvent’s new CFO, Pete Childs, has significant experience in growing, scaling, and taking companies public, having been with his previous company during its growth from $550 million and 4,000 employees to $3.5 billion and 14,000 employees, Aggarwal said.
Additionally, Childs has acquisition experience, and Cvent — which acquired two companies earlier this year — has its eye on a few more.
“We’re continuing to try to acquire good technology,” Aggarwal said. “Companies we’re looking at don’t have to have revenue, but they do need to have products.”