Tech IPOs Worth Watching in 2014
This has been a busy year for IPOs. In total, 222 companies went public in the U.S. in 2013, raising nearly $55 billion, which represents the most IPO activity since 2000, according to data from Renaissance Capital.
Twitter was perhaps the most hyped IPO of the year and one of the best performing to date. The social network raised $1.8 billion from its IPO in November and its stock has nearly tripled in less than two months. Other tech companies like Zulily, FireEye and Rocket Fuel are trading well above their IPO prices as well, though these were comparatively smaller IPOs.
CB Insights, a research firm, recently released a report noting that there are 590 venture-funded tech companies in the U.S. with valuations of at least $100 million and healthy trajectories, which would make them viable candidates to go public. Of these, just more than two dozen are said to have valuations of $1 billion or more.
We've highlighted 8 businesses that are reportedly considering going public in the next year or so.
Box, a cloud storage service, has repeatedly said that it plans to go public sometime in 2014. The company, which is valued at $2 billion, has reportedly selected bankers for its IPO.
As Mashable reported previously, Box has also been holding mock earnings calls to prepare for life as a public company. "We want to be acting like a public company before we go public," Dylan Smith, co-founder and CFO of Box, told Mashable back in July.
Box isn't the only cloud business expected to public in the near future. Dropbox, which had been rumored to be considering an IPO for 2013, is now said to be raising a new $250 million round of funding at an $8 billion valuation. The funding, according to the New York Times, is intended to help the business stay private for a few more months and boost its valuation before going public sometime in 2014.
Twitter hadn't even started to trade on the stock market before rumors surfaced that co-founder Jack Dorsey was planning to take Square public. Square, a mobile payments company valued at $3.25 billion and cofounded by Dorsey after he left Twitter, has reportedly begun talking to banks about pursuing a public offering in 2014. Dorsey, for his part, has admitted that a Square IPO will happen "eventually."
"Eventually we'll get there," Dorsey told Bloomberg in an interview. "Right now we're building the practice within the company and building the discipline. I think Square is ahead of a lot of companies in that regard because I think we're building a financial company."
Shazam, the popular music discovery tool, brought on a new CEO this year and raised a $40 million round of funding to accelerate growth before pursuing a public offering. Rich Riley, the company's current CEO, told Mashable in August that an IPO was "at least" a year away, meaning it might take place in the second half of 2014 or else sometime in 2015.
Alibaba, the largest e-commerce site in China, is expected to go public in 2014 in what may be the largest public offering since Facebook. While Alibaba may not be a household name in the U.S., its IPO will likely help another company that is: Yahoo. The U.S. tech company is the second largest shareholder in Alibaba and Yahoo stock has already benefited from this. That said, the IPO may not happen until later in 2014 or 2015: Alibaba is reportedly looking to extend a loan through next year to buy more time before going public.
You may not be familiar with Midasplayer (or King.com, as it's more commonly referred to), but chances are you're familiar with its hugely successful game Candy Crush. The company, which was founded a decade ago, has reportedly hired several banks for an IPO and was said to be considering one for 2013. A more recent report, however, suggested that the company would wait until 2014 in order to prove to potential investors that it has other popular games up its sleeve besides Candy Crush. To put that another way, King wants to prove that it can avoid some of the issues that have plagued Zynga as a public company.
Rovio, the company behind the popular Angry Birds games, has also been rumored to be considering going public, but the company's execs have repeatedly said it has no plans to do so anytime soon.
Each year, there seem to be reports that Gilt Groupe will go public in the year to come — usually fueled by the company's execs — and this year is no different. Gilt Groupe went through multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years, brought on a new CEO from Citigroup at the end of 2012 and sold off one of its properties, Jetsetter, early this year. So once again, the company is rumored to be pursuing an IPO, this time in late 2014.
If and when Gilt does go public, it won't be the first flash sales service to do so. Zulily, a flash sales site geared towards mothers and children, went public in November. Its stock is currently trading around $40 a share, nearly double its IPO price.
Seamless merged with GrubHub earlier this year and recent reports suggest the food delivery giant is cooking up an IPO for sometime next year. According to one report, Seamless may either go public in late 2014 or early 2015 with a market cap of up to $5 billion.
Other popular Internet services like Pinterest and Spotify are believed to be candidates for public offerings sometime down the road, but no timetables have been reported for either yet.
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