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Catching Up On Tech IPOs: M17, Bloom Energy, Uxin, Alvara, And Domo

The IPO cadence of tech shops listing domestically is quick enough that I’m behind. So let me present the first entry in a running series called “Catching Up On Tech IPOs.” We’ll break this column out whenever we need to go over what’s next in the world of public offerings.

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Today, we’re going to check in on a number of companies. First, M17, a firm that was supposed to have already gone public and then three companies that are likely heading out soon. Let’s go!

M17: The IPO That Cried Wolf

M17 was an IPO that didn’t make much sense. The livestreaming company was an odd duck, generating a huge portion of its revenue from a handful of power users. (More on that here.)

This made the company’s decision to go public odd. Its business felt fantastically immature, at least in relation to the sort of revenue regularity you want from companies prepping an IPO. When the firm cut its IPO range, it was not a surprise.

But then something surprising did happen: M17’s IPO fizzled. A kaput flotation is always a spicy sitch, so what went down? Per Bloomberg, something amazing happened:

M17 Entertainment Ltd., the live-streaming platform that [rapper Jeffery] Huang co-founded, said in a statement dated Wednesday it’s deferring its listing due to unspecified “settlement issues” with some investors. In a post on his verified Facebook page, Huang used a four-letter expletive to express his displeasure with Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG, the lead underwriters of the sale.

The same article notes that Huang “rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange” the day that M17 was supposed to begin trading. I honestly can’t recall that happening with a company that then failed to list. But, there’s a first for everything, and in the era when Domo wants to go public, why shouldn’t M17 try to get a bite of the same?

Maybe an ICO would have been the better call.

In the meantime, a few other late-stage startups are hoping to pull off an offering,

Domo

We’ve written quite a lot about Domo, a business-intelligence company that has a high burn and weaker-than-expected SaaS fundamentals. Opinions are mixed about the chances of its success. Some folks expect its IPO to happen due to market momentum. Some folks think it’s simply too weak to make it up. And at least one person I know thinks Domo will make it live even though it shouldn’t. Regardless, this IPO is polarizing. (Filing)

Uxin

With nearly $1 billion in capital raised, this company calls itself the “largest used car e-commerce platform in China.” The company generated around $300 million in revenue last year and about $68 million in the first quarter of 2018. That’s up more than 100 percent from the year-ago first quarter. It’s also comically unprofitable. Uxin posted a net loss of over $420 million in 2017 and $133 million in the first quarter of 2018. When you take into account its complicated corporate structure, and other costs, the firm’s losses were even steeper. This may be a theme with some heavily funded Chinese unicorns. (Filing)

Bloom Energy

Focused on on-site power generation, this is a tech shop that was supposed to go public ages ago. Happily, the numbers look alright. The company’s revenue grew from $72 million in Q1 2017 to $169 million in Q1 2018, while its net loss fell from $65 million in Q1 2017 to just under $18 million in Q1 2018. (Filing)

Avalara

Founded in 2004 and hailing from Seattle, Avalara does tax software. That’s about as exciting as looking at yourself in the mirror after a fifth scotch. Regardless, the company raised $341 million to grow, so let’s see how it did. Avalara’s revenue growth is reasonable, from $49 million in Q1 2017 to $61 million in Q1 2018. Over the same period, its net losses fell slightly from $16 million to just over $15 million, signaling a path to profitability. Of course, the market is on fire for subscription revenues at the moment, and that’s what Alvara has. (Filing)

And now you are as caught up as we are. More when another company files.

(As always, take a peek at our stock spreadsheet for a more in-depth look at various yearly IPO cohorts.)

Editorial note: Avalara was originally misspelled and has since been updated.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias