The U.S. initial-public-offering market is set to welcome several young promising tech unicorns this year, after a terrifyingly turbulent end to 2018. A unicorn company or a unicorn startup is a private company with a valuation of more than $1 billion.
Variants include a decacorn, with a valuation of over $10 billion, and a hectocorn, with a valuation of over $100 billion. Here are the top tech IPO unicorns that we are watching in 2019.
Uber Technologies Inc
The Uber initial public offering is expected to hit markets within the next few months. Uber confidentially filed an S-1 document on December 6, 2018 with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The San Francisco, CA-based ride-hailing service has attracted a lot of attention in the last ten years as it continues to rapidly expand around the world.
Uber has already raised $20 billion in private markets before its eagerly-awaited IPO. Notable investors in the company include Microsoft, Softbank, Toyota, and Morgan Stanley. Uber was set up in July 2010 by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. It is the king of the ride-hailing industry with presence in more than 60 countries, and studies showing that it controls 60% of the market.
Uber filing sets the stage for one of the biggest tech listings ever for Silicon Valley. The company has a valuation of $76 billion based on its most recent private financing as reported by Venture Beat. That figure could rise to $120 billion once the company goes public, which would be more than Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and GM combined.
Lyft, the main ride-hailing rival to Uber, is also planning to making its Wall Street debut this year. Founded in 2012 by tech entrepreneurs Logan Green and John Zimmer, the unicorn confidentially filed its paperwork for an initial public offering on same day as rival Uber.
Lyft could list as soon as the second quarter with its valuation expected to surpass $15.1 billion, where the company was valued in 2018. The company will pitch investors on its rapid expansion in U.S. as it faces off with Uber to become the first ride-hailing company to go public.
Unlike Uber, which has international recognition, Lyft is only present in the U.S. and Canada. As of July 2018, the company controlled 28% of the U.S. ride-hailing market, based on figures compiled by Second Measure.
Search and discovery startup Pinterest could hit a valuation of $12 billion should the nearly 9-year-old startup move forward with an IPO in the first half of this year. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company recently began choosing its bankers, reaching out to know the amount of loan they would be willing to commit.
Pinterest posted revenues of $473 million in 2017, compared with estimates of $500 million. Media reports also say that it exceeded 200 million monthly active users (MAUs) that year. The San Francisco-based company has raised around $1.5 billion since 2010 and is currently worth more than $10 billion.
Slack Technologies Inc
Slack, a ubiquitous work collaboration tool worth in excess of $7 billion, recently filed a confidential registration for an initial public offering. The company filed under a special provision of securities laws that allow startups to commence the process of going public without revealing their financing details.
Slack will bypass the traditional method of going public in favor of a direct listing, a method used by Spotify Technology SA. The method allows a company to avoid big fees from investment banks, and lockup periods for insiders.
Slack had 8 million daily active users (DAUs) and 3 million paid users around the world in 2018. The 10-year-old Silicon Valley powerhouse said it that “the public listing is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”
Airbnb is said to be prepping for an IPO that could come later this year at a valuation of more than $30 billion. Rumors about its IPO started in 2014 and Chief Executive Brian Chesky has clearly stated that it is possible to float the company in 2019.
The unicorn hired a new chief financial officer late 2018, indicating that a move into the public market is on the horizon. Airbnb is reportedly considering either a direct listing like Spotify or traditional IPO, according Recode.
Mr. Chesky is reported to be seeking advice from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, about how the online home-sharing platform could possibly launch its own similar listing. Airbnb says it has more than 5 million listings of places to stay in more than 191 countries and 81,000 cities.
The company has seen its hosts earn more than $40 billion in income since launching in 2008. Airbnb company surpassed quarterly revenues of $1 billion for the first time last year.