UPDATE 2-Benchmark-backed Confluent jumps in debut, valuation soars over $11 bln

(Adds CEO, investor quotes)

June 24 (Reuters) - Shares of Confluent Inc jumped more than 22% in their U.S. stock market debut on Thursday, giving the event streaming platform a market capitalization of over $11 billion.

The Mountain View, California-based company’s shares opened at $44 apiece, compared with the initial public offering (IPO) price of $36 per share. The company sold 23 million shares in its IPO, raising about $828 million.

“Part of the goal of taking the company public is to set us up to raise capital to increase our visibility to the larger set of investors and customers,” Confluent Chief Executive Officer Jay Kreps said.

On a fully diluted basis, Confluent is valued at $16.64 billion, based on its debut price of $44.

The company had been valued at $4.5 billion when it raised $250 million in April last year.

Founded in 2014 by former LinkedIn employees, Confluent’s cloud data service leverages Apache Kafka, an open source event-streaming platform used by 70% of the Fortune 500 companies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using the service as part of the pandemic response to get an insight into the state of vaccine rollouts, Kreps said.

Confluent had considered a direct listing but opted for an IPO as it wanted to raise capital in the meantime, he added.

Besides Benchmark Capital, the company counts Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures among its investors.

Confluent’s product concept is applicable in every industry and has a big universe of use cases, Mike Volpi, partner at Index Ventures said, adding that it’s a leader in its category.

Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs were the lead underwriters for the offering.

Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru and Echo Wang in Asheville, North Carolina; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi