REUTERS

(REUTERS)

Twilio IPO Exceeds Expectations

Industries Reuters

Communications software provider Twilio on Wednesday defied stock market volatility prompted by Britain's referendum on European Union membership by raising $150 million, a higher amount than it had originally targeted.

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Market jitters and fluctuations in technology stocks have kept investors skittish about the sector, making Twilio's offering only the third U.S. technology IPO of 2016. Uncertainty over the so-called Brexit vote, scheduled for Thursday, added to the volatility.

San Francisco-based Twilio priced $10 million shares on Wednesday at $15, above its previously indicated $12-$14 range, according to a statement.

Twilio, which was valued at roughly $1 billion in its last fundraising round in July 2015, according to a regulatory filing, is being closely watched by other so-called "unicorns," private companies valued at more than $1 billion. Though these companies have lured plenty of investors in the private fundraising market, no venture-backed unicorns had broken through the IPO market this year.

Twilio won early favor with investors by touting a fast-growing business model that does not require marketing expenditure to boost revenue. The IPO also follows a string of high-profile and large technology acquisitions that have boosted corporate valuations in the sector.

Mutual fund manager T. Rowe Price, a late-stage investor in Twilio, had publicly registered an interest in buying 15 percent of the IPO. While the offer was not binding, it helped boost Twilio's appeal with other investors.

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This helped overcome stock market volatility. On Wednesday, the Market Volatility Index, which measures investor nervousness, breached its warning threshold of 20, rising as high as 21.2.

Twilio's software is used by large companies such as car-hailing service Uber to allow drivers to speak and text with passengers without exchanging contact information.

Twilio will list on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "TWLO."

Goldman Sachs & Co, J.P. Morgan and Allen & Company LLC are among the underwriters on the IPO.

(Reporting by Lauren Hirsch in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler and Andrew Hay)