Category: business

IPOs to Look Out for in 2019

IPOs to Look Out for in 2019 Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

In this article, we explore the IPOs anticipated to go public and make a big impact in 2019. In 2018 there was a burst of initial public offerings; however, 2019 looks even more alluring. There’s a handful of multibillion-dollar companies expected to go public. The following are the hottest upcoming IPOs to keep an eye on in 2019.

To no surprise, Uber is high on the list as one of the upcoming IPOs in 2019. Uber has confidentially filed to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission early December. Uber’s goal is to beat their rival Lyft to Wall Street. Uber is expected to go public by the first half of 2019. Potential IPO valuation is expected at $120 billion.

Next on the list is Uber’s rival Lyft. Lyft isn’t just competing Uber with ride sharing, but they’re also competing them with the first to adopt self-driving cars and thus reducing labor costs in the hopes to break even. Lyft is also planning to go public in the first half of 2019. In fact, Lyft coincidentally confidentially filed to go public on the same day back in December. Lyft definitely has some major backers, which include General Motors Co., Alphabet, Icahn Enterprises and Fidelity. Lyft’s potential IPO valuation is estimated at $15 billion.

The third on the list is Airbnb. Unlike the two previous companies, Airbnb is reportedly pondering a “direct listing.” This move will cut out Wall Street underwriters and sell shares straight to the public. The negative side of this move is that the company doesn’t earn any of the proceeds. This approach allows insiders to cash out. The potential 2019 IPO valuation is estimated to be at $31 billion.

Finally, coming in at fourth is the company Slack. Slack is a hot startup company that is rushing to go public by the end of the year. Slack is a workplace messaging app. As they’re prepping to go public, they hired Goldman Sachs to assist with lead underwriting duties. Their daily users are impressive, boasting 8 million total users and 3 million paying subscribers in mid-2018. Since Slack is a messaging app, they do face strong competition from Microsoft, Alphabet, Cisco Systems and Facebook. Slack’s 2019 IPO estimated at $10 billion.


Is Kickstarter Right For Your Business?

Is Kickstarter Right For Your Business_ Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

It seems as if the news and other media outlets are full of crowd-funding success stories. An individual or group has an idea, then markets that idea through platforms such as Kickstarter, to get the capital needed to materialize that idea, bringing it forth from the ether. Unfortunately, the stark reality is that these stories create a false hope that anyone with a computer and a dream can crowd-fund their way into success.

The numbers tell a shockingly different story from news outlets. Only 45 percent of crowd-funded projects ever meet, or potentially exceed, their goals. Of that 45 percent, 29 percent are for projects with an eye for less than $10,000. Only 4 percent reach goal between $20,000-$100,000, and in excess of $100,000 a measly 0.9 percent. That means that 55 percent of all Kickstarter campaigns do not reach or exceed their goal.

Unfortunately, that’s only half of the equation. There are fees to consider, such as Kickstarter’s 5 percent, then markdowns, and finally, rewards offered to backers. To better succeed, Kickstarter suggests making a video for potential backers to view. This can be a costly endeavor. Then there’s the cost for social media expenses to advertise your campaign as well. All of these fees and costs can eat into profits, which can then eat into the capital that was initially needed to start the business in the first place. That can lead to delayed start times.

Approximately 25 percent of all fully-funded campaigns through Kickstarter will deliver on time. That means that 75 percent of fully-funded campaigns experience delays. This places an impact on potential customers impacted before the product has even reached them. This can affect brand loyalty and disrupt the necessary customer-base for the product being sold.

This is not to say that Kickstarter is not useful in its own right. Crowd-funding can allow small businesses with big dreams spread the word about their product. It can be a useful tool if combined with the necessary legwork and effort required to get a business from an idea to reality. However, solely relying on crowd-funding is a dream riddled with pitfalls. A potential business needs a plan of action. Having goals, meeting those goals in a timely fashion without the reliance on crowd-funding platforms, and channeling hard work and dedication into delivering a fantastic product is all a business really needs to succeed.


When IPOs Flop

When IPOs Flop Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

When a privately held company first goes public and sells shares to the public, that’s known as an initial public offering. Some IPOs are legendary. Many banks, telecom and social media giants had record-setting IPOs that people still talk about today.

Not every company is so lucky. Even some highly anticipated IPOs don’t live up to expectations. Some of the biggest IPO flops date to the dotcom boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Many of these were innovative ideas designed to disrupt a dated way of doing business.

One of the best examples of an IPO gone wrong is During the late 1990s, launched as an online pet supply store. Though it had several competitors in the space, this company also had lots of momentum. Its mascot connected with customers in a big way, making it into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In the late 1990s, attracted investment from internet giants like Amazon. Its IPO in 2000 raised over $80 million. Yet this company still ran into trouble. Sales of staple products like bulk food were slow, in part because shipping was so expensive. Stock prices went from a high of $14 to a low of 22 cents. went bust just nine months after the IPO.

During the early aughts, Vonage was the biggest name in VOIP in the United States. The company was growing quickly, and attracted lots of investment. The downside of this rapid expansion was that Vonage struggled to scale up, losing money from 2001 to 2006. Vonage decided to raise money by selling stock.

The IPO raised over $500 million. On the surface, it looked like a success. However, Vonage had taken a new approach. In addition to offering shares to investment firms and qualified individual investors, Vonage offered shares to users. On the day of the IPO, a glitch for Vonage customers caused trouble.

Customers were told their transactions hadn’t gone through. Days later, charges hit their accounts. The charges were for the initial stock price of $17. However, in the time between the glitch and the finalized purchases, the stock had lost 30% of its value.

IPOs should be pursued with caution. These can be exciting investments, but they are notoriously hard to evaluate. Even companies with lots of momentum can have rocky IPOs.


How an IPO is Set Up

How an IPO is Set Up Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

When a company goes from private to public, that process is known as an initial public offering, or IPO. IPOs are a great way for companies to grow. Private companies have few investors. They may have been funded by the founders, some family members and friends. Some promising private companies may also attract angel investors.

An IPO is a great way for a company to level up. Selling new shares means there will be more money available to pay down debt and fund new research. Initial public offerings can also attract lots of media attention. They can also be a great marketing tool.

IPOs are also one way that founders and early investors in a company can monetize their own shares. By selling off some of their stock, they can transform the estimated value of their company into cold, hard cash for the first time. For example, when Facebook went public, Mark Zuckerberg sold some of his own shares and made over $1 billion.

The process for an IPO is fairly complicated and can take six months to a year. First, companies need to get at least an investment bank on board. Sometimes, multiple investment banks are involved. They may work together as a team, or each bank might work alone under their own power.

The next step is to meet with the SEC. Everyone must attend these meetings: lawyers, underwriters, company management and auditors. These meetings are crucial. They will determine the size of the initial public offering and how it is timed.

After this meeting, lots of due diligence is required. This includes market due diligence, legal due diligence and IP due diligence. When the due diligence is complete, the S-1 Registration Statement can be completed.

An S-1 Registration Statement is very detailed, including historical financial information, risk assessment and more. Once it’s ready, a pre-IPO meeting is held so bankers and analysts can learn about the IPO. This also educates them on how to sell it to people. A preliminary prospectus might also be prepared.

Market research is conducted to figure out how investors feel about the company, and what price they would be willing to pay. Managers will meet with investment bankers to settle on a final price. Then, shares are allocated to investors by investment banks, and the stock starts to trade publicly.