Five trillion dollars. That’s how much value is locked up in unicorns, according to an estimate by Crunchbase. With some of those private billion-dollar companies going public recently, investors are eager to see more of them follow suit and end the distribution dry spell.
Among the privately held companies that have IPOed in recent weeks are:
- Arm, a chip designer whose sole backer, SoftBank, made $4.9 billion in the public listing and whose remaining shares were worth $48.5 billion on Thursday.
- Instacart, a grocery delivery service whose backers include Sequoia Capital and DI Capital Partners, whose combined shares were worth $2.7 billion on Thursday;
- Klaviyo, a marketing automation company backed by Summit Partners, Shopify and Accomplice Associates, whose combined shares were valued at about $3 billion on Thursday; and
- Neumora Therapeutics, a biotech company backed by Arch Venture Partners, Biomatics Capital Partners and SoftBank, whose combined shares were worth about $850 million on Thursday.
The recent IPOs provide a glimmer of hope to both GPs and LPs. Tim Guleri, managing partner at Sierra Ventures, which focuses on early-stage B2B companies, tells Venture Capital Journal he expects to “see a spate of IPOs now, like you’re seeing with Klaviyo, Arm and Instacart recently, and perhaps a few more.”
Guleri predicted there may be “a little bit of a cooling off as we get into the election cycle and then I think it’s going to come right back. But I do feel these three definitely put a big crack in the dam and we’re going to start seeing quite a bit of interest in tech IPOs.”
Scott Voss, a managing partner at fund-of-funds manager HarbourVest, agrees that the three recent IPOs are a positive sign of the IPO market reopening. “Now that the public markets on the tech side have come back, there is this inventory of companies in our private venture portfolios that are ripe and ready to go public,” he said. “We’ve seen a few over the course of the last two weeks that have gone out at meaningful valuations, and I think we will see that trend continue and there will continue to be successful exits through IPOs going forward through the end of 2023 and especially into 2024.”
Jordan Nof, co-founder of early-stage firm Tusk Venture Partners, said it is too early to say if many more venture-backed companies will IPO. “As we start to see more companies go public the theme is that they have a minimum top line revenue number that’s quite high and that they’re not eager to jump into the publicly traded non profitable bucket,” Nof said. “How profitable they are is something the market is fleshing out, but at the end of the day we’ll see. It’s hard to get a strong gauge on [recent IPOs’] performance until some period of time goes by, but it appears to be much more favorable than it was in the past.”
If the IPO window does stay open, we may see some of the more than 1,500 companies on the Crunchbase Unicorn Board try to wing their way into the public markets. As a group, those unicorns have been valued about $5 trillion. Imagine how happy LPs would be if they could tap into just 1 percent of that amount.
Following are some well-known unicorns to keep an eye on. Note that all the data comes from Crunchbase and public filings unless otherwise noted.
Status: Watching the market for optimal timing. It filed for an IPO in December 2021, but withdrew last year. CEO Sanjay Poonen told Business Insider in August: “I would say we continue to be in a state of public readiness. And as the market opens up, we’ll pick the right time, whether it’s fall, whether it’s next year.”
Description: Offers specialized cloud storage solutions for enterprise customers.
Funding: $805 million from 28 investors.
Most recent valuation: $3.6 billion in secondaries transaction in 2021.
Likely winners in IPO: Its earliest investors were Sequoia Capital and Wing Venture Capital, which funded its $15 million Series A in 2013. Sequoia and Wing also participated in Cohesity’s $55 million Series B in 2015, along with nine other firms, including Accel, Battery Ventures, DHVC and Google Ventures.
Status: Planning an IPO for April 2024, according to a report by Business Insider.
Description: Operates online travel management platform.
Funding: $2.2 billion from 25 investors.
Most recent valuation: $9 billion in October 2022.
Likely winners in IPO: Zeev Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Group 11 and Andreessen Horowitz. Zeev led Navan’s $4 million seed round in 2015 and led a $10 million Series A in 2017 (with participation from Group 11 and Lightspeed). Lightspeed led a second Series A totaling $12.5 million in 2017 (with participation from Group 11 and Zeev). Lightspeed and Zeev teamed up to co-lead a $51 million Series B in 2018 (with participation from Group 11, Frontline Ventures and an angel). Andreessen Horowitz led a $154 million Series C in 2018 (with participation from Group 11, Lightspeed, Manhattan West and Zeev).
Status: Planning IPO for second half of this year, according to a report by The Information.
Description: Operates a media platform.
Funding: $1.3 billion from 34 investors.
Most recent valuation: More than $10 billion in August 2021, according to a Reuters report.
Likely winners in IPO: 500 Global, A Capital Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Initialized Capital, Sequoia Capital, SVA, Thrive Capital and Y Combinator. Y Combinator seeded the company with $100,000 in 2005. Reddit raised $1 million in a Series A led by Initialized Capital in 2012 and $50 million in a Series B led by Y Combinator in 2014. Among the 16 participants in the Series B were 500 Global, A Capital Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, SVA, Thrive Capital and nine individuals.
Status: Has registered but hasn’t priced. It filed an amended S1 on September 8.
Description: Operates a peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace.
Funding: $502 million from 32 investors.
Most recent valuation: $2.7 billion, according to a May report by The Information.
Likely winners in IPO: August Capital, Canaan Partners, IAC and G Squared. Most recent S1 shows IAC owns 78.4 million shares, G Squared owns 31.2 million, August Capital owns 20.5 million and Canaan IX LP owns 18.7 million. August and Canaan participated in multiple Series A rounds from 2010 to 2013. Kleiner Perkins led a $47 million Series C in 2015, but it is not mentioned in the S1, either because it holds less than 5 percent of the shares or already sold its stake.