Domestic tech IPOs are off to a better start than they were this time last year, but that doesn’t mean that 2018’s crop of new public offerings is setting records.
Thus far in 2018, by Crunchbase News‘ count, four technology companies have gone public on United States exchanges: ADT, PagSeguro, Huami, and Cardlytics. Two of those firms are based in the United States, but neither of the two are from Silicon Valley.
The absence of Silicon Valley-area firms is notable, but not without historical precedent. By this time last year, there had been all of zero domestic tech IPOs. So Silicon Valley is matching its 2017 performance thus far in 2018. (Of course, AppDynamics nearly went public in early 2017, before it was snapped up for $3.7 billion.)
But 2018’s IPO crop is taking shape. So let’s take a brief moment to look at the firms that have managed a debut, followed by brief notes concerning which companies will or will go public this year.
The New Four
ADT, a security firm with a growing technology pedigree, kicked things off with its January 19 IPO, an offering that was a disappointment twice over. First, the firm priced at just $14 per share, miles below its listed range of $17 to $19. Still, the $14 per-share price valued the firm at more than $10 billion. ADT then opened trading below its IPO price. It’s still worth about a billion less than the full value at which it priced.
As a company, whether ADT counts as tech is an open question. For reference, ADT sells video recording tech, provides mobile apps and has a nascent cybersecurity arm. But, as Crunchbase News counted Blue Apron as “tech,” it’s only fair the home-security firm should land under the same, big tent.
Brazil’s PagSeguro went next, pulling the IPO trigger on January 24. Founded in 2006, the firm works in payments and ecommerce, making it a direct hit as far its tech pedigree is concerned. The company’s NYSE-listed IPO haul bested even ADT’s big offering, totaling $2.3 billion. Its shares went up more than a third on the first day of trading and remain comfortably above its $21.50 IPO price.
Next up, we have two offerings that went off on the same day: Cardlytics and Huami.
Huami, a Chinese company that chose to list on the NYSE, is a wearables-focused hardware company (Xiaomi owns a big piece). It sold 10 million shares at $11 apiece in its offering, ending its first day up modestly. After what happened to Fitbit, it might have been a tough sell during its roadshow, but the firm is up another few cents today, pushing it a bit further above its IPO price.
And finally, Cardlytics. Cardlytics also went public on February 8th, making the Atlanta-based “Purchase Intelligence” company either the third or fourth tech shop to go public this year. Cardlytics raised over $200 million (debt-inclusive) in its march to IPO, starting back in 2009 according to Crunchbase. It priced at $13 per share, a low result compared to its range. But today Cardlytics’ shares are up over 20 percent. At north of $16, the company has seen its public market valuation quickly rise.
And that’s it. A short list to be sure, but it is one that will get longer as the year goes along. So who is next?
Nasdaq’s upcoming IPO tracker, which lists offerings on its own exchange and the NYSE, notes just one impending IPO. We are, as Axios’ Dan Primack put it well this morning, in “an annual IPO dead zone.” On the same topic, MarketWatch wrote something today explaining why this particular moment is slow for IPOs:
The market traditionally suffers a lull around mid-February, because companies that have a calendar year have numbers that are deemed to have “gone stale, ” meaning they have reached a point where the quarterly financials from the third quarter have become so old that the issuer needs to provide numbers for the subsequent quarter. Those numbers need to be audited to be included in a prospectus.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that the rest of February looks particularly barren.
It will also be interesting to see what impact the market’s recent choppy behavior has on IPO cadence. In 2017, the market just went up; however, the IPO count remained soft. We’ll have more when the quarter closes.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias