Who Goes Public When? Tech Companies Maneuver to Stand Out in the Horde

Josh King, vice president of communications at the New York Stock Exchange, said it was capable of handling multiple I.P.O.s and had twice hosted seven on the same day. There is only one finite resource that the exchange must manage for all of the offerings flooding into the market: the opening and closing bell ceremonies, when companies ring in and close out the day’s trading. Still, plenty of slots are available, he said.

Many companies use the bell-ringing ceremonies as a branding moment. When Lyft went public last month on the Nasdaq stock exchange, its top two executives, Logan Green and John Zimmer, rang the opening bell from a newly opened support center for its drivers in Los Angeles. Pink confetti rained down, and the celebratory image was instantly memorialized.

PagerDuty, which is based in San Francisco and makes software that helps companies respond to complaints and other incidents, was founded in 2009. It became a unicorn, valued at $1.3 billion by private investors, in 2018. On Thursday, it went public on the New York Stock Exchange.

PagerDuty did not want to miss the opportunity to stand out on its first day of trading, so it brought Pagey, a smiling, bug-eyed, neon green cardboard-and-felt company mascot, to the New York Stock Exchange’s trading floor. Pagey frolicked around and photo-bombed CNBC interviews with Ms. Tejada.

Transporting Pagey across the country from its home in San Francisco was not easy. The bulky mascot suit couldn’t be flat-packed into a FedEx box. Ms. Tejada said PagerDuty’s executives had contemplated buying Pagey a plane ticket.

“We held our breath a few times when we didn’t know if he-she-they would make it on time,” Ms. Tejada said. (Pagey has no gender.) But she was determined to get the mascot to the trading floor to help show off PagerDuty’s lighthearted company culture. The company eventually packed Pagey in a customized box and shipped it via courier.

In the end, Ms. Tejada’s concerns about being overshadowed by other tech offerings were moot. PagerDuty’s stock soared nearly 60 percent on its first day of trading.

The company picked the right date for its listing. Minutes after the market closed that day, Uber unveiled its I.P.O. prospectus — and attention immediately shifted.