Vocera goes public as "VCRA" on NYSE

By Brian Dolan
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Vocera SmartphoneVocera Communications, maker of wireless communications systems for healthcare, went public this week by listing its shares on the NYSE with the symbol "VCRA". Vocera's systems are installed in more than 800 hospitals and healthcare facilities across the globe. The offering included more than 5.8 million shares priced at $16.

Vocera first filed for its IPO last August when it noted that the offering would help it repay outstanding debts under its credit facility. The company also said at the time it might use the proceeds to acquire or invest in complementary businesses, technologies, or assets. JP Morgan and Piper Jaffray were the lead underwriters for the IPO.

Vocera's 2011 revenues grew 40 percent year-over-year to $79.5 million, which made for a $2.5 million net loss for the year. In 2010 Vocera raked in $56.8 million in revenues that earned them a net profit of $1.2 million.

Vocera CEO Bob Zollars told Forbes this week that the company's market opportunity is about $6 billion, with half of that in the US and the other $3 billion in global markets. Zollars also told Forbes that Vocera co-founder Rob Shostak came up with the idea for the wearable communicator because he was a fan of Star Trek. He made the first prototype in his garage out of wood, according to Zollars. He also said that Medicare and Medicaid can give facilities 1 percent bonuses for using the device and that the technology saves nurses about 2 miles of walking each day.

Vocera is based out of San Jose, California, and it also has offices in Tennessee, Canada and the UK.

As of last August, Vocera said it generated about 98 percent of its sales from its voice communications products. Similarly, 98 percent of the company’s business comes from healthcare, however, Vocera has eyed mobile workers in the retail, library and hospitality industries, too.

In 2010 Vocera acquired Toronto-based Wallace Wireless, a competitor that enabled healthcare professionals to send pages, text messages, and alerts through their smartphones. Wallace billed its system as “secure, reliable, and traceable” and said it worked over both WiFi and cellular networks. Vocera did not disclose the acquisition sum.

In 2009 Vocera teamed up with Motorola to create the Vocera smartphone, which offered the same one-touch, voice user interface of the Vocera communications badge. The Vocera smartphone runs on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, which supports alarm/alert systems, asset tracking, medical reference software and includes access to corporate email.

More on the IPO details in this AP report.