This article was written by Frank SLootman and originally appeared on the Snowflake Blog here: https://www.snowflake.com/blog/the-snowflake-ipo-what-does-it-mean/
On September 16, 2020, Snowflake began life as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. What does it mean? It depends on who you are.
For employees, this is of course a huge milestone, especially for the longest serving employees who hired on at the company in 2013 when the company first started staffing beyond its core founding team.
For customers and partners, it means transparency. We will now report on a regular cadence to the financial markets, and the disclosures will provide extensive insight into how the company is doing. Not a small matter: customers and partners who are making major commitments to Snowflake really have a need to know about our financial health, growth and balance sheet strength. As a private company, we were often asked to disclose information about our financial well being by major prospects.
Our public profile in the marketplace will evolve rapidly and dramatically as a function of our public market debut. Orders of magnitude greater numbers of people will know and learn about Snowflake, and those who already knew us will enhance their understanding and awareness of us as a company. Is this just a nice-to-have PR value? It’s more than that because it will affect the market’s perception of Snowflake as a company, and enhance our relative standing in the marketplace. Let’s not forget that we compete in a market with the largest, biggest tech brands on the planet so any narrowing of that gap will be felt and most welcome.
For management, it means a new chapter, a major milestone, playing on a much bigger stage, with far more visibility and also notoriety. Sometimes, we refer to it as going from playing on Saturday to playing on Sunday. You get the gist. It’s different. Companies go through stages, from the earliest start up days, in cramped quarters, to various growth spurts, many more employees, better and bigger digs. Many of us harbor feelings of nostalgia about earlier eras. It’s human nature of course. But we can never go back, we can only press on and go forward.
Speaking of going forward, what is very different as a public company is our balance sheet and access to capital markets. We now have the resources to pursue many of our strategic objectives and priorities. This is super exciting. We will have an expanded palette of strategic options, which will change how we think about our landscape on a daily basis. It will further enable our ambitions.
Our strategic priorities are the build out and expansion of our workload scope. This is what constitutes the Cloud Data Platform. Snowflake is in many ways the reincarnation of the database management system, but at a massive cloud scale. The data platform for the next generation. From data engineering to data warehousing to data sciences to data exchanges and data applications and data services.
Equally strategic is our mission to build our Snowflake Data Cloud vision. The data cloud is about unfettered data access, the un-siloing and un-bunkering of the world’s data so it can be mobilized in the service of the world’s enterprises and institutions.
Snowflake’s cloud native architecture is inherently a federation of data. Anybody with a Snowflake account is plugged into this data orbit, whether they realize it or not. Any Snowflake account can both provide and gain access to shared data in any other Snowflake account, regardless of the flavor of cloud, geo or region. Subject to permissions obviously. Data content providers are viewing the data cloud as a marketplace to showcase, promote and transact on data. We believe the data cloud will become a data industry in its own right, a place where siloing and bunkering is a remnant of the past.
These are all super exciting paths of evolution and it will help greatly that Snowflake has made the transition to public markets and can lend its stature and resources to these strategic directions.