Tech IPOs [initial public offerings] could be heading for a quiet period. Many investors believe we’re set to see the market cool off, after a number of startup ‘unicorns’ (firms thought to be worth over $1 billion) failed to deliver promised returns in 2015.
The number of tech firms that launched on the stock market fell to a seven-year low this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many startups are choosing to stay private (see Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat) or exit by selling up to another firm.
And it’s no surprise. Venture capitalists joke ‘IPOs are the new down round’ (when a startup raises less capital than its previous valuation), pointing to companies like Square, Groupon or Box who went public at a lower price than planned. Music-streaming firm Deezer pulled plans to go public in October, after it failed to convince investors it merited its price tag of $1.1 billion.
However you’d be wrong to think it’s all doom and gloom. Over here in the UK, there have been some notable recent successes.
Last year in the UK web security firm Sophos raised £352 million on the London Stock Exchange, meaning it’s now worth over £1 billion, and in November 2015 software reseller Softcat saw its shares jump 20 percent on the first day of trading.
Payments firm Worldpay raised £2 billion in the UK’s biggest IPO in 2015 in October 2015.