The end of IPO limbo?
Snap Inc., set the price for its expected IPO this week — with a valuation in the range of $18 billion to $20 billion — and judging by how ALL the angles of it are being covered by media outlets from Variety to USA Today to the usual suspects like Fortune, ReCode, and TechCrunch, it is clear that everyone is fired up for a return to the days of yore when the companies everyone expected to go public actually did hit the NYSE and Nasdaq.
Since 2014, when Wayfair, HubSpot, and CyberArk locally, and Alibaba, among others, went public, there have been few IPOs, save for outliers like Rapid7, Acacia Communications, and Everbridge. Most of these have seen a rise in their initial stock price since going public. But the state of the market has left others weary of leaving the private market for the much more unstable public one.
Back in 2014, I remember clearly sitting across a far-too-large conference table with Tom Erickson, Acquia’s CEO. Erickson was fired up, we were at Acquia’s first major conference, taking place in Boston, and he was excited for 2015. Acquia had set its sights on an IPO, which Erickson felt was an inevitability, so much so that he had pushed hard for the company to join HubSpot and Wayfair in the late 2014 IPO surge.
A few years later, that still hasn’t happened.
Companies like Veracode, Acquia, Actifio, and Carbon Black (formerly Bit9) might feel compelled to join the IPO party again after sitting in the wings for years.Jeff Fagnan of Accomplice may have two portfolio companies go public if the window reopens. Veracode and Carbon Black, both under S-1s, and both have been mentioned as IPO candidates since 2014, When I asked him about missing an opportunity before, he acknowledge that, “Yes, it was probably a missed window.” But he added that, “Going public is just a stop and not the final destination though.”
That “stop” is a big one, however, and, as seen by the growth of all the companies that have gone public since 2014, having a successful public company can impact the entire market.
So let’s dust off the NYSE badges and get ready for some long awaited IPOs here in Boston post-Snap. They’ve been a long time coming.