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As Lyft’s Public Offering Looms, A Reminder Of Where The Year’s Unicorn IPO Crop Stands

Morning Markets: To kick off the week, let’s remind ourselves what we know about unicorn IPOs. 

As last year came to a close, we asked if 2019 would be the year of the unicorn IPO. Since then several of the growth-oriented firms worth $1 billion or more have filed to go public, have hired bankers, or reported new financial results.

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It’s been a lot. What follows below is an attempt to collate where we are regarding the various unicorns (and decacorns, frankly) and their imminent public market liquidity. If I forgot something, send me a reminder. Let’s go!

Actively Impending

Lyft. Lyft’s IPO has the world’s eye at the moment. The ride-hailing upstart worth $15.1 billion is targeting a valuation of $20 to $25 billion in its debut, reports indicate, and the company’s S-1 filing could land this week. Lyft filed privately last year. (Read this disclosure:1)

(If I’m being honest, I’m posting a roundup this morning strictly so I can get it out before Lyft’s formal IPO filing lands.)

Last we heard, Lyft brought in $563 million in revenue in the third-quarter of 2018 (+88 percent year-over-year) while losing $254 million in the same period. It’s smaller than Uber, but it also loses far less money! What Lyft’s final numbers look like, and how it argues its valuation, will set the starting tone for the year’s IPO cohort.

Privately Filed

Uber. Uber filed privately in late 2018, dueling with Lyft over who would get out first. Since then, however, Uber’s filing process seems to have fallen behind its smaller, domestic rival. What we do know is that Uber wants to go public and that it wants to do so at a high price.

What we don’t know is how public investors will handicap its most recent earnings, which showcased stiff losses and slowing growth.

Postmates. The Postmates IPO is a bit of a mystery. What sort of financial shape the delivery startup is in is uncertain. I’ve heard that it’s a healthy company and I’ve also heard that it’s not. We do know that rival DoorDash just raised another huge sum of money. Perhaps that indicates strong general investor interest in the category.

Postmates filed privately earlier this month, which was a welcome surprise.

Pinterest. The Pinterest IPO has been under discussion for so long that it’s almost wild to know that the company has filed last week after hiring bankers in January, and will likely become a public company this year. When isn’t clear, but now that the government has un-stuck itself and managed to avoid closing again, Big Pin could go public this quarter.

We have more here and here, in case you need a refresher on Pinterest’s path to the public markets.

SlackThe app you either love to hate, hate to use, or use with love has filed privately to go public as well. Worth billions like the rest of the companies on this list, Slack has big expectations to meet. But unlike some firms on this list, Slack is widely expected to have strong financial metrics.

With oceans of cash, quick revenue growth, and anticipated low customer-acquisition costs, Slack could put up cleaner results than many of the other unicorns hoping to sprout wings and fly.

Zoom. Zoom filed privately to go public earlier this year, and recent news indicates that it could file a public S-1 in March and go public in April. After blanketing airports with ads, Zoom has pretty good mindshare, but what we don’t know is how strong its numbers are.

In a year of consumer-oriented offerings, Zoom and Slack stand out as unabashedly enterprise-focused. (Read this disclosure:2)

PagerDuty. I forgot all about PagerDuty. It filed earlier this year and should add another enterprise offering to the year’s unicorn IPO mix. If you haven’t heard of PagerDuty, ask your engineering-focused friends. They’ve heard of it.

As Business Insider reminds us, the company was worth $1.3 billion after its most-recent funding round.

Prepping Bankers

Peloton. The bike company your friends won’t shut up about is prepping for an IPO and has selected bankers to lead its show, recent news indicates. Peloton hasn’t been as long-running an IPO candidate as, say, Pinterest, but the company’s high-end hardware and recurring-revenue software strategy make it an interesting company to watch.

The Internet-connected exercise company is targeting a valuation of over $8 billion when it debuts.

Faffing About

Palantir. Another year, another shot for Palantir to go public. Perhaps this time it will happen? The pseudo-secretive firm has had a big valuation tossed around, and is reportedly dancing with Morgan Stanley to run the banking side of its IPO.

Do it, Palantir.

Airbnb. Who knows when Airbnb is going to go public. It ruled out the transaction last year. Perhaps 2019 is the jam? It has to go public at some point, right?

I think that that’s it. This post will hopefully be out of date by tomorrow. See you when news breaks!

Top Image Credit: Li-Anne Dias.


  1. After publication, it came to our attention that Mayfield led Lyft’s Series A. As Mayfield is a Crunchbase investor, I would have disclosed the investment had I known about it. Please consider this late disclosure an apology for not knowing about, or promptly disclosing, the conflict.

  2. Zoom investor Emergence Capital also invested in Crunchbase, Crunchbase News’s parent company. You can read our notes on how we handle this sort of situation here. The short version is that no investor in Crunchbase receives special treatment, and we flag conflicts of interest.

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