Money Matters
5:00 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Tableau Software is one of Seattle's Fastest Growing Companies

In the Center of the Universe, Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, stands Tableau Software. Tableau is 10 years old and has been a publicly owned company for just six months. It’s growing fast. In just the past three years, employment has gone from fewer than 200 to more than 1,000.

Financial commentator Greg Heberlein says Tableau is a company that local investors should keep their eyes on.

What Does Tableau Do?

Tableau makes software that enables companies to compare enormous amounts of information to better determine customer preferences. Greg says it's "like a spreadsheet on steroids."

Who Uses this Software?

There are applications for almost every industry, from manufacturing to insurance, from investing to education, from real estate to retailing.

Tableau has more than 15,000 customer accounts. Big-name users include Safeway, Macy’s, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Coke, Pepsi, Facebook, eBay, Alaska Airlines, and all sorts of governmental units. The IRS, the NSA, and the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries are all Tableau customers.

When Did Tableau Go Public?

In May. The initial price was $31, but the stock quickly soared, more than doubling in less than two months. It peaked at $77 and has been trading in the mid-$60s of late.

How Did the Company Start?

Ten years ago, Tableau was formed in the Bay area by three men. The most prominent was a Stanford University computer-science professor, Pat Hanrahan. Among his many accomplishments are two Oscars for  technology that helped Pixar create its animated films. He now serves as Tableau’s chief scientist. 

Shortly after the company formed, the founders decided Seattle, with its wealth of computer professionals, was the place to be.

So What Should Investors Do?

Greg doesn’t issue buy or sell recommendations. But the industry is in its early stages and Tableau is one of its leaders. Those who like to invest in individual stocks might want to keep tabs on it.