Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

MuleSoft, a San Francisco-based SaaS integration company, last night priced the year's first big enterprise software IPO, raising $221 million. Shares are up sharply in their first day of trading on Friday, giving it a value well north of $3 billion.

Axios spoke by phone with MuleSoft CEO Greg Schott, who touched on IPO timing, acquisitions, immigration policy and his message to company employees about following the stock price:

On why the 11 year-old company is going public now:

"For a growing company like this, investors are most focused on what you're able to do with your free cash flow. We'd managed to take negative cash flow down to negative 4%, on the verge of break-even, while continuing to grow the business at 70% per year, which helped us feel that we were good and ready.... The biggest driver of going public, in general, is that we sell mission-critical software to large-scale organizations and we felt that being a public company would give them more confidence to buy from us."

On its professional services segment having negative margins:

"We run professional services as a way to get our companies successful on our products, but we're not waking up each morning looking at how we maximize margins on services. Instead, we use services as a core driver for the software subscription business."

On possible acquisitions:

Schott says that the company is particularly interested in small "fold-in" purchases of security and analytics companies, since MuleSoft "has visibility into the flow of information in every part of an organization" that it could build on top of. It also is interested in acqui-hires of strong engineering talent.

On immigration policy, given that a large number of MuleSoft employees work outside the U.S.:

"The free flow of talent across borders is important to business, to capitalism and is a big driver of the American tech market. Anything that impedes that flow is not positive. We and others are going to find ways to work through it, but it obviously is not helpful."

Message to employees about the IPO:

"We've been telling the team that our mission is to go build a great company for the long-term. The stock is going to move around from day-to-day and month-to-month, and we've showed them times when even companies like Google and Facebook weren't trading great for six months or so. If we do right by our customers and keep building the company, then the stock will follow. But you can't watch the stock price on a near-term basis and feel it reflects the worth, or lack of worth, of MuleSoft."

Giphy

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).