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From The Editor’s Desk: All Eyes On The Coming IPO Rush

From the Editor's Desk

Against all odds, the IPO boom has arrived. 

This week, four unicorn startups are making their public-market debuts, to be followed shortly thereafter by several more of the most highly valued U.S. private companies. They will join the 113 companies that have gone public so far this year, including 10 venture-backed and tech companies, and set 2020 up to be the biggest year for IPOs since 2014, when Alibaba went public.

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Snowflake, Sumo Logic, JFrog and Amwell Health are all set to start trading on Wednesday or Thursday this week. Data mining unicorn Palantir Technologies is slated to begin listing on the New York Stock Exchange next week, and Asana, the workplace collaboration company, plans to list the week after. Airbnb is also still expected to go public later this year. 

Snowflake, the San Mateo-based data warehouse unicorn, is set to be the biggest of the bunch going public this week, with an initial valuation out the gate of around $22 billion

How the coming IPOs perform will be a big test of the stability and strength of the U.S. stock market as we head into the final quarter of what’s been a very weird year. We’ll be covering their debuts closely, so follow along.

Our top stories last week

Among our readers’ favorite Crunchbase News stories last week:

  • Crunchbase researcher Gené Teare published her monthly recap of global startup and funding trends. Among the key takeaways: The 10 unicorn companies that filed to go public in August have collectively raised $30 billion and are valued at a combined $224 billion. There are now 616 unicorn startups globally, collectively valued at $2 trillion. That’s a lot, but also means that the most valuable startups in the world—combined—only equal one Apple.
  • Unit economics—that is, focusing on things like cost per customer acquisition, customer churn and profitability—are more important than ever in assessing a startup’s health, startup adviser Itay Sagie wrote in a guest column for us last week: “Unit Economics were not always in the investor’s mindset. …. (But) we’ve witnessed a drastic pivot in the VC industry toward a more conservative result-based mindset. COVID-19 has made this even more apparent.”

What I’m reading

If I seem to write too much about California’s future, please forgive me. I’m writing this column after a week of being locked inside, hiding from the smoke-choked skies outside and obsessively checking the air quality on PurpleAir

The raging fires on the West Coast have filled our skies with toxic smoke, taken numerous lives already, and destroyed thousands of homes and other structures—all in the midst of a pandemic.

The wildfires could also spark a housing-market-induced financial crisis, warns a new report prepared for the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, a group with membership that includes banks, oil companies and asset managers.

“A sudden revision of market participants’ perceptions about climate risk could trigger a disorderly repricing of assets, which could have cascading effects on portfolios and balance sheets and, therefore, systemic implications for financial stability,” the report said.

The link between the wildfires—already this year California’s worst on record—and climate change has also become undeniable

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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