Jacob Wiegand
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, retired professional basketball player and President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers, and Ryan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Qualtrics, speak onstage during Qualtrics' X4 Summit at Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 8, 2018. Details emerged Monday for survey/business analytics giant Qualtrics' public stock offering with the company setting up to potentially raise almost $500 million.

PROVO — Details emerged Monday for survey/business analytics giant Qualtrics' public stock offering with the company setting up to potentially raise almost $500 million.

In an amendment to its mid-October S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company indicated its plans to offer 20.5 million shares of common stock in the coming weeks at $18-$21 per share with an additional 3.1 million shares available as options to underwriters.

At the top price, and with all options exercised, the company could bring in over $495 million.

Qualtrics was founded in 2002 by Ryan and Jared Smith based on technology first developed by Ryan and his father, BYU researcher and professor Scott Smith, amid the elder Smith's fight (it was successful) against throat cancer. Initially conceived of as a tool for academics, the company and its platform has since evolved into a tech behemoth that leverages survey input and a business analytics engine to let its clients, now numbering over 9,000, know exactly how well, or not, their companies are performing.

Smith and his team built Qualtrics via a path that's become a rarity in the tech realm — "bootstrapping" or self-financing growth and product development for an entire decade before finally accepting venture capital input. Since then, Qualtrics has brought in some $400 million in venture financing and, following a $180 million round in 2017, had earned a valuation of $2.5 billion. If the company's stock offering hits on all cylinders, Qualtrics post-public valuation could top $4.5 billion.

While Qualtrics executives are forbidden from publicly commenting on the stock offering, per SEC "quiet time" guidelines, CEO Ryan Smith predicted last year that 2018 could be a banner year for homegrown tech companies taking the plunge into public markets.

And it's one that's come to fruition.

Farmington's cloud-based tech education company Pluralsight went public in May, blowing past their pricing estimates and raising $310 million in the effort while American Fork business intelligence/analytics company Domo hit the public markets in June, pulling in $193 million.

Other information released by Qualtrics in its SEC filings reflects a company that continues to perform at a very high level with annual revenue growing over 50 percent from $190.6 million in 2016 to $289.9 million in 2017. The company also surged into profitability in the same time period, turning $12 million in losses in 2016 to $2.6 million in positive cash flow in 2017, according to its disclosures.

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In addition to running a multibillion dollar company, Ryan Smith has built a record of local engagement, speaking frequently on issues of workplace diversity and early tech education in the public school system. He also defied convention several years ago and leveraged the opportunity to become an NBA jersey patch sponsor with the Utah Jazz into a promotion for a philanthropic effort rather than his company.

Qualtrics' 5 for the Fight campaign is aiming to raise $50 million in the fight against cancer.