Altair Engineering soars 41% in public debut

Katie Roof
Michigan-based Altair Engineering is off to the races in its public debut.

Michigan-based Altair Engineering is off to the races in its public debut. After pricing shares at $13, the enterprise software company raised $156 million.  Then Altair saw its shares soar over 40% to close at $18.31 during the first day of trading.

The company, which has been around since 1985 has built "software focused on simulation and optimization and leveraging high-performance computing," said founder and CEO James Scapa. He said it has technology that was spun out of NASA.

We're the "coolest company you've never heard of," said Scapa. But he said that they work with well-known companies like Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Facebook. "Almost everybody in the tech world actually is a customer."

The company's main competitors include Dassault Systèmes, Siemens, Ansys and MSC Software. Scapa said it's a "really good space" to be in because the category is growing.

Altair had $313.2 million in revenue last year. This compares to $294.1 million the year before. The company is profitable with $10.2 million in net income and $10.9 million the year before.

"We generate cash and we’re going to continue to generate more and more cash," Scapa said.

The company wasn't venture-backed, but did at one point receive private equity funding from General Atlantic. Scapa said he bought out the private equity in 2013 and is used the capital from the offering to pay down debt.