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Updated at 6:15 p.m. Pacific to add end-of-day figures.

Zendesk’s smiling Buddha looks especially happy today.

The cloud-based help desk company raised $100 million in its initial public offering, selling 11.11 million shares at $9 each — right in the middle of its projected $8 to $10 range. The stock opened at $11.40, a substantial 27 percent pop over Zendesk’s sale price.

And the stock closed more than 49 percent above the opening price, at $13.43. Not too shabby.

Earlier in the day, the stock was trading at $12.60, a 40 percent increase. Its strong performance today suggested Zendesk might have been able to price at $10, the high end of its range and raise an extra $11.1 million. Still, the company is undoubtedly thrilled with its IPO today, especially as some other technology companies have floundered in the public markets.

Zendesk’s help desk software lets its clients manage customer service issues through a variety of channels: phone, email, online chat, and social media. With Zendesk, customer-service managers get analytics and reporting capabilities to get a picture of how many requests come in and how well help desk workers are doing their jobs.

The firm also offers a community discussion portal, which it claims “builds customer relationships outside support tickets.”

[Editor’s note: Indeed, fast-growing hospitality company Airbnb used Zendesk’s technology as a key driver of its scaling effort, something Airbnb’s head of data science Riley Newman will talk about at our DataBeat conference in San Francisco on Monday and Tuesday.]

Software pricing ranges from $1 to $195 per month for each representative using Zendesk. The company says it has around 42,000 customer accounts.

The help desk software space is filled with viable competitors, including Salesforce’s Desk.com, Freshdesk, and Kana. (Check out our top 10 list of powerful, cloud-based help desk services here.)

Zendesk reported a loss of $22.6 million for 2013, compared to a $24.4 million loss a year earlier. But it increased revenues 88 percent to $72 million last year, according to its IPO filing. As a software-as-a-service company, much of its revenue depends on recurring billing, which means it has to pay for maintenance and support upfront while its revenue for that contract trickles in over a year or two.

Zendesk’s institutional investors include Charles River Ventures, Benchmark Capital Partners, and Matrix Partners. Its latest private funding round — $60 million — came in September 2012.

Zendesk is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ZEN.”

Salesforce and the Zendesk IPO


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