December is here, which means the year-end rush to the public markets has begun.
Airbnb, Wish, Affirm and Roblox are among the high-flying startups that have filed to go public in recent weeks, lining up a busy final month of 2020 for IPOs. And if there are any other companies that want to go public this year, the clock is ticking.
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Time is just about up for companies that want to go public in 2020 to file their S-1 registration statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to Matt Kennedy, a senior strategist at IPO research firm Renaissance Capital.
“You basically have three weeks that you can, two weeks that you can launch really, maybe three,” Kennedy told Crunchbase News last week, speaking about the remaining window for IPOs this year. “They’re all timing around that window … if they don’t file by the end of November, they’ll have to kind of be on hold for another three weeks. Because (there are) no IPOs during Christmas week, no IPOs in New Year’s week.”
Airbnb, Affirm and Roblox filed in rapid succession the week prior to Thanksgiving. Market conditions were likely a reason for that.
“If they didn’t move forward now, they’d have to wait at least three weeks, and anything could happen,” Kennedy said. “The markets are hitting all-time highs. It just makes sense.”
This year has proven to be robust for IPOs, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the companies to go public are big names like Palantir and Asana, as well as Snowflake, which was the largest software IPO of all time.
The year will be closing out strong, too. Among the companies still in the IPO pipeline this year, DoorDash and C3.ai, which on Monday both set price ranges for their offerings, are expected to start trading the soonest, on Dec. 9, according to IPO tracking website IPO Scoop.
Airbnb could go public in early to mid-December, according to Kennedy.
More to come in 2021
There’s also plenty of activity lined up for early 2021, Kennedy said. Instacart and Robinhood are two well-known private companies that have been reportedly preparing to go public next year. Instacart picked Goldman Sachs to lead its IPO, according to Reuters, and Robinhood is looking for an adviser for a possible IPO next year, per Bloomberg.
The public markets this year have responded well to fast-growing companies.
“The path to profitability was a big response to some of the money losers last year, but this year growth has really trumped profitability,” Kennedy said, pointing to companies with high growth like Roblox and Wish.
“Even the very large filers have high net losses, so that hasn’t really proven to be a stumbling block. That has just showed that growth is top of mind,” Kennedy said. “Especially for a company like Roblox that has benefited so much from the lockdown, and Wish. I think with the exception of Airbnb, the major filers have benefited from the lockdown, online buying (and) entertainment.”
Companies expected to go public in late 2020 or early 2021:
Venture-backed tech (and tech-adjacent) companies that have already gone public in 2020:
- One Medical
- Kingsoft Cloud
- Duck Creek Technologies
- Sumo Logic
- Amwell Health
- Root Insurance
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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