Public Startups

The Upcoming Tech IPOs: Space, Flares, Teeth, Pong, And Dogs

As the third quarter enters its second half, we’re comfortably over the halfway mark for the year’s IPO cycle. And while we’ve noted that there seems to be a somewhat thin list of lower and middle-tier unicorns going public in 2019, a few big debuts are on the horizon.

In fact, there’s enough to justify taking a look at the list of companies that have publicly filed for an IPO. No company on this list has a date or a price range, putting them a ways off from actually trading. Still, these companies are probably the next set of tech and venture-backed IPOs we’ll see.

Bear in mind that we should see a Postmates S-1 in the coming weeks, and that 9F went public recently for $9.50 per share and is worth nearly $11 as we write today. That aside, we’ll examine our four impending IPOs in the order that they announced, oldest first.

The We Company

There’s no need for The We Company, better known as WeWork, to file another S-1 document to include more results. We’re in the middle of a quarter. So we expect that the next SEC filing from The We Company will include a price interval.

Companies going public set a price range for their shares, based on demand, and then either price inside the numbers, raise the range, or price outside of their expected price. Some companies even raise their range and then price above the boosted set of expectations.

Indeed, it can be strategic to set a low initial IPO pricing interval, merely so that the company going public can raise its price, and thus drive an extra set of attention to its offering, before the big day. If WeWork will pursue something similar isn’t clear, though the company’s pricing dance will be the biggest topic of the week, whenever it happens.

WeWork has a huge uphill battle ahead of it to defend its final private valuation. If it cannot reach the $47 billion figure, how close it can get will become the only thing discussed over salads in South Park. Obviously, Crunchbase News is eagerly anticipating the signal that The We Company’s pricing will provide regarding investor interest in high-growth private companies that are cash hungry and starkly unprofitable.

Cloudflare

Similar to what WeWork has in front of it, Cloudflare is another company working towards an initial pricing interval. Last valued at around $3.25 billion after a $150 million investment in March of this year, Cloudflare is upper-tier in the unicorn world. We’d also hazard a guess that the company would like to best its private valuation during its public offering.

Annualizing its H1 2019 performance yields a full-year revenue estimate of $258.3 million, though that figure is low due to it not including H2 2019 growth from the firm. Call it $300 million, then. At its old $3.25 billion valuation, the company would be worth just under 11x times revenue. Shooting for a higher number will push Cloudflare’s valuation deeper into double-digit revenue multiple territory.

This is when roadshows come into play. It’s up to the company to sell investors on not only on its future growth but future profits. More, of course, when we get that first set of pricing estimates from the company.

SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub is aiming to raise $100 million with its IPO and revealed quick revenue growth and increasing losses. The startup, which raised $380 million as a private company, is backed by likes of Kleiner Perkins and Spark Capital.

SmileDirectClub, which has drawn the ire of dental associations, has ramped up its spending on sales and marketing, more than doubling the line item from $86.5 million in the first half of 2018 to $209.1 million in the first half of 2019.

It’ll be interesting to see how the startup does amid concerns about “teledenistry” and considering how its competitor Align has been doing recently on the public markets.

Ping

  • S-1 publication date: August 23, 2019.
  • Crunchbase News coverage: S-1 post.

Ping isn’t posting the fastest growth, but it’s also far less unprofitable than most of its ilk. It even made some money back in 2017.

What’s notable about the Ping deal is its history. The firm was snapped up by Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm, for $600 million in June of 2016. The company has grown since then. However, it’s most recent growth rate (comparing H1 2018 to H1 2019) puts the firm’s revenue expansion at a modest 13 percent. Its ARR grew a bit faster at 25 percent over the same periods.

But with a loss of under $14 million in 2018, and just $3.1 million in the first half of 2019, Ping’s capital needs are more modest and its burn less sensational than a number of other companies in the IPO hunt. That makes its pricing harder to guesstimate than, say, a Cloudflare or Datadog.

Datadog

  • S-1 publication date: August 23, 2019.
  • Crunchbase News coverage: S-1 post.

Datadog dropped its S-1 last Friday, showing off a history of sporadic profitability and recent, modest losses. The company reported 85.4 percent revenue growth in the first half of 2019 and over 8,800 customers. Crunchbase News wrote about Datadog’s first steps toward the public markets, and we found that the company’s growth rate is attractive when compared to its recent deficits.

With the company going public, we’re especially interested in how the public markets will value it. Datadog declined to share its valuation when it last raised money ($94.5 million, 2016) but those numbers will come to light when it updates its S-1 with a pricing interval. According to some reporting the firm was worth around $640 million when it last raised capital.

Datadog is, therefore, hunting for a unicorn valuation while it pursues its IPO.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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