Biggest technology IPOs 2019 so far

Technology IPOs in 2019 including Lyft, Pinterest, Airbnb and Uber going public

This year is shaping up to be a big one for technology IPOs. Lyft, Pinterest and Uber have already gone public, and Slack, and Airbnb are expected to join them soon.

Analysts expect a drop in the total number of IPOs this year, but the tech companies that are going public include some of the world's biggest.

In 2018, Renaissance Capital tracked 190 companies going public in 2018, up 19 percent from the year before, according to MarketWatch, led by the likes of Sonos, Spotify and Dropbox and a raft of unicorns from Utah, hitting the public markets.

This year, a host of unicorns are likely to float, meaning it "could still be a big year for proceeds if not for deal count," according to Renaissance. This prediction is supported by CB Insights, which estimates that "if Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Slack were to go public at their rumoured IPO valuations, they would all rank among the 10 largest venture-backed tech IPOs since 2012."

Here are the biggest technology IPOs of 2019 so far.

The majority of financials here are in $USD and are according to Bloomberg and Google Finance.

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Peloton - September 2019

Peloton, the New York-based maker of connected exercise bikes and subscriptions to classes had an underwhelming debut in September, with stock opening at $27, down from its listing price of $29. This still valued the company at $7.2 billion.

This highlighted a general softening of the market for highly valued tech unicorns (the debate over WeWork and Peloton's status as tech companies can saved for another day), as WeWork abandoned its IPO plans amid turmoil at the company after it issued its controversial S-1, and Uber is still trading well below its debut price.

Peloton had sales of sales $915 million for this fiscal year, up 110% from $435 million in 2018 but at a net loss of $245.7 million, up from $47.9 million in 2018.

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© Dynatrace

Dynatrace - August 2019

Massachusetts-based application performance management (APM) software vendor Dynatrace floated on 1 August, with shares jumping up 49 percent, helping the company - which is majority-owned by the private equity firm Thoma Bravo - to raise $570 million in its initial public offering. This valued the company at $6.7 billion.

The company had total revenues of $431 million in 2019, according to its S-1 filing, but it went from making a $9.2 million profit in 2018 to a $116.2 million loss in 2019.

The vendor plans to target the 1,500 biggest enterprises in the world as customers and intends to invest this injection of cash in repaying debt, growing its sales and marketing functions and expanding its AI-powered monitoring platform into new areas.

Slack - June 2019
© Slack

Slack - June 2019

Continuing its trajectory as one of the fastest growing enterprise technology companies of all time, the collaboration software maker Slack closed its first day of trading on the New York Stock exchange at $38.62, up 48% from its reference price. This valued the company at $21 billion, which is around three times its last private valuation.

Slack pursued an unconventional direct listing, as streaming giant Spotify did to some success last year. This allows the company to avoid dealing with the cost of underwriting the IPO and the ‘lockup period’ that prevents shareholders from selling immediately after a traditional IPO. It means the firm was able to raise less money, but proves it isn't short of private capital runway at this point.

The SaaS vendor had $400 million in revenue in its last financial year at a $139 million loss.

Crowdstrike - June 2019
© Crowdstrike

Crowdstrike - June 2019

Cybersecurity vendor Crowdstrike had a mega debut on the Nasdaq, with its stock price surging by as much as 97 percent on the first day. The vendor's value rocketed to more than $11 billion, nearly four times as much as it was valued at its last funding round in June 2018.

The Silicon Valley-based firm opened its first day of trading at $63.50, up from its IPO price of $34.

Founded by Dmitri Alperovitch and current CEO George Kurtz, Crowdstrike specialises in cloud-based breach protection. It recorded a net loss of $140 million in its last financial year, while revenue more than doubled to $250 million according to the company’s prospectus.

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Uber - May 2019

In one of the most hotly anticipated IPOs of the decade, ride sharing firm Uber floated on Friday May 10, raising $8.1 billion in its long-awaited debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Uber initially priced its public offering at $45 a share, aimed at a valuation of $82.4 billion, however the stock opened at a disappointing $41. The offer price is almost a third lower than what analysts predicted last year, but still leaves Uber with the third hight market capitalisation at IPO of all time, behind only Alibaba and Facebook.

Following a very public rehabilitation effort under new CEO Dara Khosrashahi, Uber was unable to hit its once targeted $120 billion valuation. The company is still heavily loss-making and is facing serious regulatory and ethical challenges across the world.

Brian Hamilton, a tech entrepreneur, warned investors to tread cautiously. "Uber is basically Lyft 2.0," he told Sky News. "Good model, growing sales. But, yet again, here comes California math once more. It is still losing a ton of money. If you buy, you are buying a bull market, not a company."

Pinterest - April 2019
© Pinterest

Pinterest - April 2019

Pinterest had a successful start to public life. It came to market priced at $19 per share, giving the company a $12.7 billion valuation, and popped 27 percent to $24.13 by mid-day trading.

The San Francisco-based online scrapbook company continues to make losses and is burning cash, but its content pinboards are an attractive format for advertisers, who can buy targeted ads that appears at the top of users' feeds and search results.

It has also steadily grown its monthly active users to 285 million by the end of 2018 and its revenues to $755.9 million, up from $472.9 million the previous year.

Aaron Goldman, CMO of global marketing technology company 4C Insights, gave the credit for the successful early trading to Pinterest's ability to help brands reach audiences at the right moments for marketing.

"While other channels specialise in facilitating high-level brand awareness or direct-response purchase activity, Pinterest generates results across the entire marketing funnel," he said. "We've seen continued increases in investment on Pinterest from advertisers using 4C to buy an array of formats including Promoted Pins, Video, and Shopping Ads."

Andrew Lipsman, analyst at research firm eMarketer, told Bloomberg that Pinterest was "just getting started as a powerful ad business".

Zoom - April 2019
© Zoom

Zoom - April 2019

Zoom skyrocketed in its trading debut in April. The videoconferencing company began publicly trading at $65 and reached as high as $66, up significantly from the IPO price of $36, valuing the company at more than $16 billion.

The software maker is a rare example of a unicorn that combines high growth with profitability. It has already attracted around 50,000 companies, and the subscription model helped it attract five times the revenue in 2018 that it did the previous year.

However, analysts have warned that the boom times won't last forever. Jonathan Kees, an analyst at Summit Redstone Partners, forecast a "rapid deceleration in sales growth". He described the company's first-day rally as being bid up "in a frenzy" and added that  Zoom could defy gravity "for only so long".

PagerDuty - April 2019
© PagerDuty

PagerDuty - April 2019

The first major enterprise software maker to go public this year was PagerDuty. Shares were trading up 59 percent at the close of trading at $38.25 on April 14, valuing the Canadian company at $2.8 billion.

In essence PagerDuty is an incident response platform which leverages machine learning to proactively warn against potential outages and counts over 10,000 customers, including the likes of IBM, Auto Trader and UK challenger bank Monzo.

See also: Conde Nast embraces chaos engineering with PagerDuty to protect against outages

The company was founded in Toronto in 2009 by Alex Solomon, Andrew Miklas, and Baskar Puvanathasan, before it entered the Y Combinator programme in San Francisco. In 2016 the company tapped former CEO of Keynote Systems, Jennifer Tejada, to take over as chief executive.

Lyft - March 2019

Lyft - March 2019

Ride hailing firm Lyft became the first tech unicorn to float in 2019. The San Francisco-based company joined the stock market at the end of March, in what proved to be a massively oversubscribed listing.

Shares popped by as much as 21% on opening day, before settling nearer $78.29 a share, which was up 9% on its list price of $70-72, giving the company a massive $27 billion valuation.

In 2018 Lyft took in $8.1 billion in bookings accounting for $2.1 billion in revenues, with losses of $911.3 million.

Not everyone was as bullish on the float though, as analyst David Trainer wrote in Forbes: "It shares many of the same characteristics that have led me to warn investors away from other recent IPO’s: growing losses, low barriers to entry, poor corporate governance, and an unrealistically high valuation."

Often positioned as the ethically conscious alternative to Uber, Lyft doesn't have the global reach of Uber and little technology differentiation, so it will be interesting to see what Uber lists at later this year.

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Upcoming listings

Other technology companies that have filed their paperwork to go public this year include:

  • Postmates

Others rumoured to be preparing a float include:

  • Airbnb
  • Bumble
  • Palantir
  • Cloudflare
  • Robinhood
  • InsideSales.com

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.