Portland software company files to go public with Oregon’s first tech IPO since 2004

Expensify, a Portland company that makes software to manage employees’ expense reports, filed for an initial public offering Friday.

It would be Oregon’s first tech IPO since 2004, when Cascade Microtech went public, and just the second substantial IPO from any Oregon firm during that 17-year stretch. Coffee chain Dutch Bros, which went public last month, is the other.

Founded in 2008, Expensify moved its headquarters to Portland in 2017 and purchased the former Bank of the West Building downtown two years later. The company had 140 employees at the end of June. About 30 of them are in Portland, including founder and CEO David Barrett.

Expensify reported $65.0 million in revenue during the first six months of the year, up from $40.6 million in the same period of 2020. Profits totaled $14.7 million, compared to $3.5 million in the first six months of 2020.

Expensify plans to trade on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol EXFY. The company would have three classes of stock that would concentrate voting power within a voting trust, whose trustees are Barrett and two other corporate executives.

The company’s filing indicates Expensify plans to raise $100 million, a placeholder figure likely to be adjusted whenever the company proceeds with its IPO.

Oregon’s long IPO drought coincided with a boom in the state’s tech sector, which by 2013 was as vital to the regional economy as the forest products industry had been in the 1970s.

But the state produced no large, homegrown tech companies in the years after the dot-com bust. Instead, Oregon became a low-cost outpost for tech giants like Intel, eBay, Amazon, Google and others.

Expensify’s arrival is a variation on that theme. The company has a highly distributed workforce and isn’t a major economic force in Oregon, with fewer than three-dozen employees here.

But Expensify owns its own office building downtown, and its IPO could be a signal that attracts more distributed tech companies to the region, especially if remote work becomes more commonplace in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Portland area is showing a renewed capacity to grow its own businesses. Three Clark County companies — laser manufacturer nLight, data broker ZoomInfo, and biotech company Absci — have held IPOs in recent years.

Just last week, Wilsonville battery technology company ESS Tech went public by merging with an investment fund, called a special purpose acquisition company. And Portland vacation rental management company Vacasa plans to use the same mechanism to go public later this fall.

— Mike Rogoway | [email protected] | twitter: @rogoway |