Tintri files for US$100m IPO but warns losses will likely keep coming

Admits costs set to rise and that it faces entrenched deep-pocketed competition

Virtualized storage upstart Tintri has filed for its initial public offering.

The filing reveals modest ambitions to raise around US$100m.

Why the small sum? The filing reveals that the company keeps making losses: revenue of $49.8m, $86.0m and $125.1m in fiscal 2015, 2016 and 2017 respective saw net losses of $69.7m, $101.0m and $105.8m respectively. The filing also reveals the company has an “accumulated deficit of approximately $338.7 million.”

IPO documents have to be blunt about a company's prospects. So Tintri's lists ten competitors – EMC, NetApp, Dell, HDS, HPE, IBM, VMware, Nimble, Nutanix and Pure Storage – and says all have plenty of potential advantages it may struggle to combat. The filing also points out the “history of losses” mentioned above but includes several warnings about the unpredictability of turning that around. There's also news that “operating expenses will increase substantially in the foreseeable future” due to the hiring and infrastructure needed to become a public company. And that's after pulling out of Australia.

At this point The Register imagines few readers have hit speed dial to reach their stockbrokers with a big buy order.

The upside is that Tintri thinks it has a chance in several multi-billion dollar markets – virtualised storage, all-flash arrays and primary arrays being used for data protection - all of them growing. It also reckons it is well-positioned to attract hybrid cloud buyers.

We'll know if those arguments excite punters in a month to six weeks, the span of time that typically elapses between IPO paperwork landing and scrip going on sale.

If Tintri gets its IPO away cleanly, it will be welcome news for the venture capital and private equity backers who have pumped at least $260m into the company since 2011, because the company looks to have missed out on the chance for a quicker and cleaner exit-by-acquisition. But investors contemplating Tintri will surely note that even hot storage companies like Nutanix and Pure are still making losses long after successful public offerings. ®

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