by Michael Shapiro | August 9, 2013

Meetings technology provider Cvent celebrated the company's initial public offering today, raising $117.6 million as it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "CVT." The tech company listed its shares at $21 each, above the previously estimated range of $17 to $19. The stock closed at $32.92 per share.

I caught up with Cvent executive vice president and cofounder Chuck Ghoorah from the stock exchange, a short while after Cvent's stock had soared to a high of $38.84. Although his ability to provide any company specifics was restricted due to a 25-day quiet period, he shared some general plans and his thoughts on what the IPO could mean for the industry.

M&C: First of all, congratulations on your public debut.

CG: Thanks! We are happy, it was a terrific day today. We're very grateful to our customers and employees for getting us to this point.

M&C: Can you discuss what Cvent's plans are for the money coming in today?

CG: The plan with the capital is to continue to develop our platform, and to solve our customers' problems. That's at a high level, of course: Going public is about getting more capital in order to do more for our customers.

M&C: Which customer problems are top of mind right now?

CG: For the last 13 years, our meeting-planning customers have been coming to us and saying, "Look, there's pain around managing and marketing the events. It's painful to tweak the online registration, to collect online registration fees…" that kind of stuff. But what we're seeing now in the industry is a pivot to where our customer's customer -- meaning the attendee -- is helping to drive the adoption of the event-management platform. That's one specific trend we're seeing, and that's why we're putting the gas pedal down in terms of mobile development.

What's happening now is that attendees at events are kind of showing up at the meeting planner's doorstep with pitchforks and torches, saying "We want event-specific mobile apps!" They're tired of carrying around a three-ring binder at conferences, which are heavy and become out-of-date as soon as your meeting room gets switched or your agenda changes. You're scrambling to figure it all out -- it's a mess. Wouldn't it be better if it's just on your iPhone or tablet? By their nature, people who attend these conferences are mobile professionals. They're demanding it.

M&C: And that's why Cvent acquired two mobile development companies last year. I understand those divisions have grown exponentially just since the acquisitions -- is that correct?

CG: It's our job as the acquiring company to invest more heavily in them. We acquire a company and the whole purpose of that is to bring 14 years of scale on our core business to that new aspect of business.

[Ghoorah was not permitted to discuss specific growth figures, but company sources previously estimated that Cvent had grown the CrowdCompass team by more than 45 percent and the CrowdTorch force by approximately 60 percent.]

M&C: Could we potentially see more acquisitions by Cvent?

CG: Our bias is to build out the platform internally, and organically, because that's more cost-effective. That said, I think every company always does a buy vs. build decision, because you can get to market faster sometimes if you purchase a pre-existing technology. We're always on the lookout for great technology that can help us grow and more fully round out our platform.

M&C: Do you think your experience today is a positive sign for meetings technology and the industry overall?

CG: I hope so. I think being public raises the profile of the meetings industry; now, Wall Street and the enterprise are realizing the value of meetings technology and software. I think the fact we went public today sort of puts our industry more on the map.

We have a big opportunity ahead of us -- $565 billion dollars is spent on the meetings industry worldwide. That's a huge number. What's amazing about that figure is that if you look specifically at the meeting management and marketing process, about 70 to 80 percent of that is still done manually. We're unlocking the value out of that manual process, and we're bringing it online with meetings technology. And now we have more capital to do that than we did prior.

The fact that the meetings industry is now more front of mind is always good -- not just for Cvent, but really for the industry as a whole.