Unicorns are valued more than ever, as tech companies are turning to initial public offerings for investor money instead of remaining private.
There has been a mania for them this year, exemplified last week by two original companies, food-delivery service DoorDash and home-rental service Airbnb, ranking among the top 10 tech IPOs of the year for U.S. companies.
Each one raised more than $3 billion on consecutive days of trading. DoorDash jumped 85% Wednesday, only to be outdone by Airbnb, which reached 135% in gains on Thursday.
Another tech IPO, for software vendor Snowflake, ranked among the year’s top 10 capital raisers in September. The market has proven bullish despite the economy’s trying nine months amid a coronavirus pandemic.
This year has seen the largest number of IPO listings since the dot-com boom of 2000, with $157 billion raised, according to data provider Dealogic. One-third of that money has come in the past 11 weeks.
“Other than the dot-com era (1999-2000), I’ve never seen anything like this across so many companies,” Revolution Ventures partner and former JPMorgan tech investment banking director David Golden wrote CNBC in an email. “And the valuations are seemingly untethered from any analytic metrics that I’ve understood.”
Facebook seemed like such a tech IPO anomaly eight years ago, when it hauled in $16 billion with an IPO.
It thrived after the IPO, as did companies such as Google and Alibaba that were already profitable. The concern is for IPOs to fall once they are unable to meet the hype of going public. Uber struggled for a while after its IPO in May 2019.
The offices in Silicon Valley may have turned empty this year, but tech startups’ bank accounts are filling up.