Video conferencing has come into its own amid the coronavirus self-isolation, and Norway-based Pexip’s successful $US206m ($320m) IPO in Oslo on Thursday is a vindication of John Wylie’s Tanarra Capital’s international venture capital investments.
The virtual platform has emerged as a tool of choice because of its security and reliability, but it is a crowded field. Last year’s revenues of $US56.7m compared with Zoom at $US188.3m, but then again Zoom has a market value of $US45bn.
Other players include Microsoft Teams and Google’s Meet. Zoom sells at 74 times 2020 revenues and Pexip, which opened at a 42 per cent premium, is at 10 times. The Pexip float was 20 times oversubscribed.
Security is the big selling point in contrast to the popular Zoom, which has suffered myriad security breaches, underlining the reality that, for the China-based technology team, as with Google and Facebook, the aim of the game is data collection.
Large corporate enterprise systems reportedly get attacked by malevolent cyberbots every three seconds, so security is a big issue.
Clients include Telstra and ANZ in Australia, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Pexip is backed in part by Tanarra Capital, which will retain a 4.26 per cent stake in the $US600m company.
Wylie’s Tanarra invested $9m after its own due diligence on the advice of former iVision boss and then Pexip board member Graham Williams in June 2015 .
He sold a third of his stake in the float collecting $US15m in proceeds, more than covering his initial investment and still has over 4 per cent of the stock.
No wonder Wylie reckons the Norwegians are great to do business with.
Pexip’s technology is called scalable virtual software, which means rather than the video conference being centred in one location it is a distributed platform. A virtual machine copy in, say, Europe, is the base for European callers, a virtual machine copy in Australia is the centre for Australian participants, and the US participants link via the machine copy in the US.
This also means the video conference can house all the data security settings, which remain with the client — so BHP, for example, could have a staff international video conference with all the data kept within BHP, unlike other public cloud-based systems.
Pexip was created by a team including technology boss Hakon Dahle, who worked with Tandberg when it was acquired for $US3bn by Cisco in 2009. The chief executive today is Odd Sverre Ostlie and its board includes Tandberg founder Per Haug Kogstad, who along with former chair Kjell Skappel played a key role is Norway’s biggest software float.
Tanarra started in 2015 and has some 18 international venture investments including some seven based on Oxford University technology. Its investments range from drones to robotics to cardiogram stress tests and genomics.