Amplitude is going public in a direct listing that will see its shares trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “AMPL.” The company first announced its intention to direct list in July and filed its S-1 document in August.
The San Francisco-based startup lists major shareholders Battery, Benchmark, IVP, Sequoia and Jasmine Ventures in its S-1 filing. Each of those investors owns at least 5% of the company.
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Following our digs through recent IPO filings from Freshworks and Toast, this morning we’re taking a spade to Amplitude’s document.
We’re curious why the company is direct listing instead of raising capital in its debut. We also want to understand how the company sees the future, because its product thesis is essentially a roadmap to its long-term growth; how investors value the company will in part hinge on whether Wall Street agrees with where Amplitude sees technology heading.
And we’ll do our usual work to understand the company’s revenue mix and quality, wrapping with some noodling on what it may be worth. Sound fun? Good. Let’s get into it.
Amplitude’s core product thesis
Most S-1 filings are full of corporate babble that I don’t drag you through. After all, we don’t really need to chat about how a particular vertical SaaS company thinks that its chosen niche is a great market. You already know what the debuting concern thinks. But with Amplitude, I want to do a bit more.
Amplitude sells what it calls “digital optimization” software. In practice, that means its software helps other companies design better software.
The company thinks that the way that digital products are built has changed. Gone are the days, in its view, of trusting intuition when it comes to digital design choices. Instead, Amplitude expects that companies with digital products will instead lean on data-driven decision-making. Or as it phrased it in its filing, digital product design is leaving the “Mad Men” phase for a more “Moneyball” era.
Data is at the core of how Amplitude sees companies designing future products. But in its view, many companies currently rely on a collection of disparate software tools to collect data on their digital footprint. Amplitude thinks it has a better method of collecting digital user data — and learning from it.
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