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2019 unicorn IPOs, plus, more tech start-ups poised to go public | TECH(feed)

Computerworld | Apr 23, 2019

Lyft was the first unicorn company to go public in 2019, and now Pinterest and Zoom have followed suit. In today’s episode of TECH(feed), Juliet cuts through some of the tech IPO noise and explains what a unicorn is, what these high valuations tell us about the demand for tech stock and who will benefit from some of these record-breaking valuations.

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hey everyone welcome back to tech feed i’m juliet beauchamp. today we’re switching up the tech feed format. i want to dive a little deeper into all these start-ups going public. stick around.

so if you’ve been keeping up with tech feed, you know i’ve been talking about startups going public quite a bit. and these startups have consistently been valued at over 1 billion dollars. that makes them coveted unicorn startups--meaning they reach a billion dollar private valuation.

last week two more unicorns went public--pinterest and zoom. pinterest is the bulletin board-like social media site that allows users to search for info and “pin it” for later. it boasts millions of monthly users. shares began trading last week at 23 dollars and 75 cents, which was higher than the initial offering price at 19 dollars. and shares closed that day at 24 dollars and 40 cents. that was a pretty optimistic start for pinterest. zoom, which is a video conferencing software company that also went public last week, also closed its first day with share prices higher than when it opened. two pretty optimistic starts for those companies.

lyft was the first unicorn to go public this year and similarly had a high-performing first day of trading. but, by its second day of trading, shares fell 12 percent and closed below i-p-o price.

all of those companies are in varying stages of profitability--zoom for example is profitable, while lyft continues to be in the red.

that’s similar to lyft’s main competitor, uber, which is expected to go public next month. like lyft, uber is essentially burning money as it recruits drivers, cuts prices for customers and invests in its various businesses. uber also has to compete worldwide--unlike lyft, uber operates internationally. lyft is only available in the u-s and canada. but uber is expected to begin trading on the new york stock exchange next month. and it’s aiming for a valuation of over 100 billion dollars--if that number doesn’t make you gasp even a little, it should. it would make uber one of the highest valued companies to go public in about five years.

other tech companies that are also expected to go public this year include slack, postmates and airbnb. those unicorn i-p-os will unleash a wave of new millionaires in the bay area.

so what do all of these tech i-p-os mean? well for one, it’s a pretty clear sign that tech companies dominate the markets. but you probably knew that by now. it also shows that profitability isn’t an indicator of value--i mean, uber loses billions a year and is gunning for a sky high valuation. and like i’ve said, it means unleashing herds of new millionaires in the bay area. people who got in early with these companies and will certainly reap the benefits. but for companies like lyft, uber, and postmates, whose business models rely heavily on contractors and the gig economy, it also sheds light on who will miss out on massive success--the people may not own stock in the company, yet are integral to its success. and the outcry of contractors is something to keep an eye on--uber recently paid out 20 million dollars in order to settle a lawsuit with some of its drivers.

thanks for watching today’s episode of tech feed. if you liked this video be sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. let me know your thoughts on these unicorn i-p-os--which ones are worth the investment? and tell us what you thought about this different tech feed format. see you next time.
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