BYU alum takes Qualtrics from Provo basement to stock market

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Qualtrics founder and executive chairman Ryan Smith and CEO Zig Serafin rang the Nasdaq bell, introducing Qualtrics to the public in Provo, Utah on Jan. 28. (Qualtrics)

The experience management company Qualtrics officially went public on Jan. 28, smashing Utah’s record for highest IPO.

Because of COVID-19 precautions, Qualtrics rang the bell with Nasdaq in its own headquarters in Provo instead of New York City — another first for Utah.

“This is absolutely special,” said Qualtrics founder and BYU alumnus Ryan Smith at the beginning of the ceremony. “If you know me at all you know how passionate I am about Utah. Just a few miles from here my dad, my brother and a friend and I started Qualtrics in our basement.”

When Qualtrics officially went public on Jan. 28, its IPO was priced at $30 per share and sold nearly 51.7 million shares. Previously, the company aimed for $27-29 per share, making it above their anticipated price range.

As the day closed, the price had risen to $45.50, valuing Qualtrics at $27.3 billion. Now, since starting, the price has gone as high as $56.45, and back down to $50, according to MarketWatch.

The previous record for highest IPO by a Utah company was held by Energy Solutions, who raised $690 million in 2007. Qualtrics joins many other Utah-based companies that went public in the last few years, such as Domo and Pluralsight.

Since starting in that basement in Provo in 2002, Smith and his team at Qualtrics have established themselves in the technology industry and Silicon Slopes business sphere.

Smith and his father initially created Qualtrics as a market research tool for people to make online surveys and questionnaires. Now, the company has evolved into a platform leading in experience management software.

“Only Qualtrics provides a single platform that gives companies a common fabric across the entire organization that helps teams design and improve the experiences that provide the feedback they can provide to their own customers and to their employees,” CEO Zig Serafin said.

Serafin said they were excited to welcome new investors who will become part of the next chapter in the Qualtrics story.

Many anticipate Qualtrics’s success will help the investing potential of other tech powerhouses in Silicon Slopes. “The impact Qualtrics has had and will continue to have on the startup and tech ecosystem in Utah is immeasurable,” Clint Betts, executive director of the Silicon Slopes trade group, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Qualtrics is now trading on the Nasdaq select market under XM as its ticker symbol, which stands for “experience management.”

“We’re excited to ring the Nasdaq bell this morning, and our XM ticker says at all. Experience management has never been more important, and we’re ready to take experience management to the world,” Serafin said.

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