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Tenable shares spike as the Columbia cybersecurity firm goes public

Tenable’s newly public stock soared more than 30 percent above the offering price Thursday as shares in the Columbia-based cybersecurity company began trading.

The company launched its initial public offering Thursday morning, offering 10.9 million shares for $23 each when the market opened. But the shares, trading as “TENB” on the Nasdaq stock market, started trading at nearly $33 a share late Thursday morning.

The stock later closed at $30.25 a share, valuing the company at $2.75 billion.

Tenable could raise more than $288 million through its initial public offering if the underwriters exercise their option for an additional 1.6 million shares. The offering is expected to close Monday.

The firm plans to put the funds toward working capital, invest in sales and marketing, and expand the company’s international growth, according to SEC documents.

The rapidly growing company, which is building a new headquarters in downtown Columbia, announced its intention to go public in late June.

Tenable helps businesses and governments monitor their networks for hacking threats. It now claims 24,000 customers, including more than half of all Fortune 500 companies.

“Tenable’s planned IPO comes amid a strong climate for cybersecurity startups,” said Rohit Kulkarni, managing director and head of research at SharesPost, in a statement. SharesPost is an online platform that connects investors with venture-backed companies.

The offering swells the fortunes of Tenable’s founders, executives and venture capital backers.

Ron Gula, the former National Security Agency hacker who co-founded Tenable in 2002 but stepped down as its chairman and CEO in 2016, still owns with his wife, Cyndi, about 9.2 million shares of its stock, which is now worth about $279 million.

He also received $125 million in late 2015 when Tenable bought back shares from him after it received a $230 million investment from New York-based Insight Venture Partners and Silicon Valley-based Accel Partners.

Insight invested $165 million to purchase 28.4 million Tenable shares now worth $858 million, while Accel, an earlier investor in Tenable, invested another $65 million to bring its holdings to 27.6 million shares now worth $835 million.

John “Jack” Huffard Jr., who co-founded Tenable with Gula and remains its chief operating officer, still controls about 4.1 million shares now worth $124 million. He received about $55 million when Tenable bought back shares from him and Gula in late 2015.

Meanwhile, Amit Yoran, who joined Tenable from Dell in 2016 to succeed Gula as CEO, owns more than 2.6 million shares now worth about $80 million.

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