Education software platform ReadyTech (ASX: RDY) has made a strong start in its ASX debut.

The company hit the boards for the first time with a listing price of $1.50. It briefly pushed towards $1.80, and by 2pm AEDT had settled at $1.72 — a gain of 14 per cent.

The trading result marks an early win in ReadyTech’s life as a public company, after it limped to the finish line ahead of today’s listing amid a lack of interest from institutional investors.

According to the AFR, a number of local fund managers refused to invest, citing a list of concerns including subdued customer growth and the size of the selldown by ReadyTech’s founders and major shareholders as part of the float.

The company’s listing price gave it a market capitalisation of around $120 million, after it had initially planned to list with a market cap above $200m.

SaaS-y (adjective) ‘lively, bold, and full of spirit’

ReadyTech is that latest company with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform looking to scale up in the Australian marketplace.

The company offers a suite of products covering student management systems, payroll and HR functions and workplace procurement.

It initially started life in the late 1990s, providing technology for companies to help disadvantaged people find work.

Co-founder Ken Shepherd has now left the business, but the other co-founder Marc Washbourne remains the CEO and has retained a five per cent interest in the listed entity.

Shortly after Shepherd left, private equity group Pemba Capital purchased a controlling stake in the business.

These days, the company’s core product is its student management system, which has gained traction with TAFEs and universities.

The company’s prospectus showed it booked $25.6 million in revenue for the 2018 financial year, and a net loss after tax of $5.2 million.

It forecasts FY19 revenues will increase to $32.4m, and has flagged a net loss after tax of $2.4m.

ReadyTech is the eighth company to list on the ASX so far in 2019. Here’s a table of the price performance so far from this year’s debutants.

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