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Cloud-based IPOs: Guidewire, IntelePeer

NEW YORK (TheStreet -- Both Guidewire Software (GWRE) and IntelePeer (PEER) are hoping the cache of the cloud will fetch them a higher share price when they make their public debuts this week, according to Francis Gaskins, the president of the IPO Desktop.

Guidewire priced its offering of nearly 9 million shares at $13 each late Tuesday, raising $115 million and exceeding its expected range of $10-$12 per share. The insurance software company's claim to be a cloud company is a bit nebulous. Cloud-based companies tend to score a higher price-to-earnings ratio, so it can really pay off if a company can claim they are in the cloud. But just saying you are in the cloud doesn't make it so.

Based in San Mateo, Calif., Guidewire provides software to the property and casualty insurance sector. Big companies like Nationwide and Zurich Financial use the software for underwriting and policy administration as well as claims management and billing. The software can be used on-premise or over the cloud.

The company states in its S-1 filing that Gartner claims its product "is the insurance industry's most widely used web-based claims system." However, later on in the same filing, Guidewire says that its customers typically choose on-premise over the cloud.

Guidewire goes on to tout its cloud ability, but it's clear that even though clients have the cloud option, they aren't choosing it. It makes sense because the clients have very sensitive material that they want to make sure is protected. Gaskins believes Guidewire was pushing the cloud rhetoric as way to pump up its offering price, and it looks like it may have worked.

The company has said it received a batch of new orders at the end of 2011, which will be delivered in 2012 and boost revenue by $7.2 million this year. The company does experience seasonal fluctuations with increased orders in the second and fourth fiscal quarters and Jan. 31 marks the end of its fiscal second quarter.

This is a fragmented market and highly competitive with Accenture (ACN) jumping in with its acquisition of Duck Creek Software. Guidewire also has to compete with Computer Sciences (CSC), MajescoMastek and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Oracle (ORCL) offers software that can be customized for the insurance company needs.

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