Despite a rough market on Wednesday, there were no problems with the IPO of Starent Networks (NASDAQ:STAR). The offering, initially priced a buck above its $9-to-$11 range, surged 16.75% on its first day of trading. Its successful market debut gives the company an additional $100 million in the bank to fuel further expansion.

Starent develops software and hardware systems to help mobile operators deliver video, Internet access, email, and games. The platform also enables subscriber management, billing, content filtering, and security.

The technology is in heavy demand. Starent has snagged 60 mobile operator customers across 25 countries, including Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone (NYSE:VOD).

Despite competition from players such as Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and UTStarcom (NASDAQ:UTSI), Starent's financials aren't showing much strain. Revenues surged from $34.3 million in 2004 to just more than $107 million during the past year. The company achieved profitability in 2005, and its earnings have since risen to $5.7 million in the most recent fiscal year.

As with other recent high-growth IPOs such as Riverbed Technologies (NASDAQ:RVBD) and Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN), Starent's valuation isn't cheap: Shares are trading at about 8.5 times sales. But according to a study from Strategy Analytics, the wireless data services market is expected to grow from $106 billion in 2006 to $200 billion in 2011. That's a nice headwind for Starent.

This stock is an interesting play on the wireless infrastructure space, but it's not for the faint of heart. If this stock calls, only thrill-seekers should pick up.

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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 2,149 out of 29,896 in Motley Fool CAPS. Vodafone is an Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.