Splunk (Nasdaq: SPLK), which developed software to permit enterprise analysis of so-called Big Data, saw its shares skyrocket in its initial public offering.

After the first 90 minutes of trading, Splunk shares were at $32.25 after briefly hitting $40. By the close on Thursday, they more than doubled to $38.48 from their IPO price of $17. When the IPO price was set Wednesday night, underwriters raised the price a second time.

The enthusiasm may indicate investor appetites for software companies poised to handle transmission and handling of massive amounts of data for the Internet and enterprise computing.

At the current price, the nine-year-old San Francisco-based company whose name derives from spelunking, or exploring caves, is valued at $3 billion.

The company sold 13.5 million shares with another million shares from insiders.

Bono Is An Investor

Founded by Godfrey Sullivan, 58, the former CEO of database developer Hyperion Solutions until it was acquired by Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) and Erik Swan, 47, a former VP for Walt Disney Co.'s (NYSE: DIS) Internet properties, Splunk raised about $40 million from venture capital firms including Sevin Rosen, Ignition Partners and August Capital.

Irish rock star Bono is a partner with Ignition.

The company claims 3,300 customers in 75 countries use Splunk Enterprise software to collect and index all the data generated by an enterprise for analysis. Because the data are distributed over the enterprise, it claims analysis goes much faster than traditional analysis of data stored in a silo, or one place.

In the current market where companies like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) have already placed Cloud-based services into the consumer sector, a company like Splunk, with its focus on Big Data, might tempt a buyer such as Oracle Corp. (ORCL), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) or Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ).

Aside from insiders and directors from its financial backers, Splunk's board also includes new Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) CEO Scott Thompson and Salesforce.com Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CRM) Executive VP, Graham Smith.

Like many fast-growing technology companies, Splunk's revenue growth has been high but it has not yet reported a profitable fiscal year.

For the nine-month period ended Oct. 31, Splunk reported its net loss widened to $9.7 million from $2 million a year earlier, while revenue rose nearly 80 percent, to $77.7 million.

Underwriters are Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Securities and Bank of America Merrilll Lynch with UBS, Pacific Crest and Cowen & Co, acting as co-managers.