Confluent, the company behind Apache Kafka, filed for an IPO confidentially, late yesterday. The filing was a formal intent to have an IPO, with key details like the proposed price range and number of shares still changing.
Confluent is valued at more than $4 billion and along with companies like Databricks, may be termed a super-unicorn. With the rising valuations, the question wasn’t whether Confluent would file for an IPO but when.
The company got to unicorn status a couple of years ago and like MongoDB (a fellow former unicorn), adopted its own limited open-source licensing to stop cloud providers from monetizing the IP.
Confluent’s past plans
The method used prevents the monetization of IP by cloud providers exclude Kafka, which is still an Apache project. All the enterprise products and connectors that the company built around Apache Kafka are protected.
A couple of years back, when asked where it was headed, Confluent said it was building a cloud service to allow users to run analytics and queries straight from the source. A year ago, when the company was drawing its last round Series E funding (it got $250 million), it coincided with the launch of Project Metamorphosis, to expand its Kafka platform into a hybrid cloud-native event streaming platform with no limits on data storage.
At the time, Confluent was reaching beyond its core market of Java developers, to engage the SQL base by enhancing KSQL. A year before, it incorporated features that put Go, Python, C++, and .NET on an almost equal level with Java.
Recently, its cloud service offerings have been made available on Azure and Google Cloud. In addition to that, it has made efforts to point out use cases for Kafka, among other moves meant to add value.
The SEC filing is confidential at this time so, nothing is set in stone regarding the figures and dates of this IPO