GoDaddy’s successful initial public offering in 2015 capped a phenomenal four-year run that transformed the company from brash upstart to global market leader. In 2011 the company was best known for edgy television ads aimed at attracting consumers and small businesses for its domain name registration and hosting services. When GoDaddy decided to sell a controlling interest to investors that year, TCV already had an eight-year relationship with the company’s founder, previous buyout experience, and proven expertise in scaling technology-enabled companies into lasting market leaders.
“Because of our long relationship with GoDaddy, and expectation of the value we could add under new ownership, the company gave us a ‘last look’ option to invest in the transaction,” recalls Rick Kimball, TCV’s Founding General Partner. “We liked the company and saw a significant upside, so we took the option and got to work.”
GoDaddy soon began transforming itself from the top down. Blake Irving became CEO in 2013 and built out his management team with new appointments for CFO, CTO, head of international, and other senior positions. Together, they developed a company mission to shift the global economy toward small businesses radically. GoDaddy quickly opened development centers in Silicon Valley and near Seattle to attract top-tier tech talent, which helped GoDaddy improve existing products and create new ones. It began making acquisitions to bring new products and technologies onboard. With broader offerings and higher quality, GoDaddy gained more traction with website designers and developers – a major source of customer referrals. With everything clicking, the company’s international growth accelerated.
“Having the good counsel from experts at TCV has been incredibly helpful, as a newly-public company balancing the varied interests of employees, customers, and investors.”
– Blake Irving, CEO of GoDaddy
By 2014 GoDaddy was the world’s largest provider of cloud-based software and services designed specifically for small businesses. It had more than 13 million customers and more than 50 product lines ranging from website hosting and development tools to online marketing and e-commerce solutions. Nearly 30 percent of revenue was coming from outside the U.S. The time was ripe for a public listing, and TCV began leveraging its knowledge and connections from taking dozens of portfolio companies public. For example, Scott Wagner, then CFO and COO at GoDaddy, was able to talk directly with veterans of those IPOs, such as Barry McCarthy, then CFO of Netflix.
When the day came for GoDaddy’s public listing, TCV again played a role by making a significant follow-on investment in the company. GoDaddy became one of the best-performing tech IPOs of 2015, and the company continued to outperform the rest of the IPO class of 2015 long after the year ended.