Tech IPO Bonanza Yields Riches for Enterprise-Capital Companies

New York Inventory Alternate President Stacey Cunningham rang the opening bell as DoorDash made its buying and selling debut on Wednesday.

Photograph: courtney crow/nyse handout/Shutterstock

The venture-capital places of work round Silicon Valley stay largely empty, however their coffers will quickly be brimming after what has formed as much as be a surprisingly resilient 12 months for know-how startups.

The preliminary public choices this week of DoorDash Inc. and Airbnb Inc. cap a string of listings which have helped make this essentially the most profitable 12 months on report for IPOs when it comes to cash raised.

Greater than $157 billion has been raised as of Thursday, in keeping with information supplier Dealogic—over a 3rd of that previously 11 weeks—and the variety of listings is the most important for the reason that ultimate hurrah of the dot-com growth in 2000.

The hovering public choices are showering returns on among the largest names in tech investing, particularly Sequoia Capital, which backed each DoorDash and Airbnb in addition to cloud-computing firm Snowflake Inc. and videogame firm Unity Software program Inc., all of which ranked among the many 12 months’s 15 largest listings, in keeping with Dealogic.

One thing Ventured

A have a look at among the corporations concerned in additional than one of many 12 months’s bigger IPOs

Stake worth primarily based on preliminary public providing value

Sequoia

Capital*

$16.Four billion

Silver Lake

SoftBank**

Unity

Software program

Stake worth primarily based on preliminary public providing value

Sequoia

Capital*

$16.Four billion

Silver Lake

SoftBank**

Unity

Software program

Stake worth primarily based on preliminary public providing value

Sequoia

Capital*

$16.Four billion

Silver Lake

SoftBank**

Unity

Software program

Stake worth primarily based on

preliminary public providing value

Sequoia Capital*

Silver Lake

SoftBank**

$6.eight billion

$16.Four billion

Unity

Software program

The end result is a far cry from the warning Sequoia despatched to its founders and CEOs in March urging them to organize for turbulence and disruption due to the pandemic.

The startup bonanza hardly appeared sure earlier within the 12 months, because the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation, laying waste to tens of millions of jobs and full industries, and enterprise corporations braced for depressed valuations and startup failures. As an alternative, the know-how trade went on a tear as companies like meals supply and collaboration software program turned extra worthwhile within the remote-work period.

Startups that had lengthy sought the relative shelter of the personal markets at the moment are buying and selling at valuations unthinkable early within the 12 months. Airbnb and DoorDash each priced their IPOs effectively above their preliminary steerage and their inventory jumped from there.

DoorDash on Friday was buying and selling with a market capitalization of about $59 billion, after being valued at greater than $15 billion within the personal market earlier this 12 months. Airbnb closed its first day valued at greater than $100 billion primarily based on a totally diluted share depend after sinking to an $18 billion valuation early within the pandemic.

Alfred Lin, a Sequoia Capital companion who sits on the boards of Airbnb and DoorDash, spoke in San Francisco final 12 months.

Photograph: Steve Jennings/Getty Pictures for TechCrunch

Sequoia, based 48 years in the past, is the most important exterior shareholder in Airbnb, with a stake price greater than $5.5 billion on the IPO value. The agency stated it invested within the startup throughout 9 years and 7 rounds. It reaps a couple of 7,000-times achieve on its earliest funding, valued at lower than 1 cent a share, adjusted for inventory splits, in keeping with Airbnb’s IPO submitting.

Airbnb priced the shares in its IPO at $68 apiece, and the inventory closed Thursday at $144.71. Sequoia elevated its stake via the providing, somewhat than promoting shares.

The achieve is paying homage to Sequoia’s early funding in Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which resulted in roughly a 200-times return, and Benchmark Capital’s early wager on Uber Applied sciences Inc., which introduced that agency a 620-times return, stated College of Florida finance professor Jay Ritter, who has collected IPO information for many years.

Alfred Lin, a Sequoia companion who sits on the boards of each Airbnb and DoorDash, stated the large hits present the significance of being selective in an trade whose normal method is to make many bets anticipating most gained’t work however a small quantity will repay richly.

“Traditionally, the common return in enterprise will not be that attention-grabbing, so you must be very, very targeted on choosing the right firms to make the return,” Mr. Lin stated. Sequoia’s stake in DoorDash was price greater than $5.2 billion at its IPO value.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Which IPO success most stunned you this 12 months, and why? Be a part of the dialog beneath.

Enterprise capital is an enormous trade with myriad gamers, however a handful of huge names present up repeatedly in tech IPOs this 12 months, exhibiting that a number of corporations nonetheless dominate the enterprise purse strings. A part of that is because of corporations elevating record-sized funds. Andreessen Horowitz final month raised two funds totaling $4.5 billion, a sum that was unheard of some years in the past.

“Increasingly energy, and increasingly more cash, is concentrated within the palms of fewer massive VC funds. Little question about it,” stated Adam J. Epstein, a former investor who now advises startups and boards.

Different winners embrace SoftBank Group Corp. , which suffered a string of setbacks final 12 months however hit massive with its stake in DoorDash, the place the investor’s Imaginative and prescient Fund is the most important exterior shareholder. Founders Fund, began by investor and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, stated its Airbnb stake was price about $3.eight billion on the shut of the market on Thursday. Founders Fund additionally loved a payday from the twin direct listings in September of data-mining firm Palantir Applied sciences Inc. and software program agency Asana Inc.

DST World, based by Russia-born investor Yuri Milner, has an Airbnb stake that was price roughly $962 million on the public providing, representing an almost 2,000% achieve for DST primarily based on the share value on the enterprise agency’s earliest funding, in keeping with Airbnb’s IPO submitting. DST World stated it additionally had a stake in DoorDash.

Sequoia Capital is the most important exterior shareholder in Airbnb, and was additionally an early Google investor.

Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg Information

Longtime Silicon Valley enterprise corporations Common Catalyst, GGV Capital, Norwest Enterprise Companions and Andreessen Horowitz, in addition to startup accelerator Y Combinator, amongst others, have additionally benefited richly from the string of tech IPOs this 12 months.

The IPO stampede will seemingly proceed via December, usually a quiet month. Founders Fund and DST World are poised to money in when e-commerce startup Want makes its public-market debut, anticipated subsequent week.

The good-looking paydays—at a time when a lot of the nation continues to be battling the coronavirus—are an instance of how the pandemic has widened the nation’s wealth hole, tech trade critics say. And valuations are benefiting from low rates of interest, that are meant to blunt the financial blow of the pandemic however which have additionally pushed traders to hunt greater returns in tech.

The growth additionally exhibits simply how a lot of labor and life has transitioned on-line, which suggests the development may proceed.

“A part of what we’re seeing right here is the popularity that giant swaths of the economic system stay fertile for ongoing digital transformation,” stated Albert Wenger, a managing companion at New York-based enterprise agency Union Sq. Ventures.

Airbnb was bleeding money earlier this 12 months, making its plans to go public by the top of 2020 look bleak. However by adapting its enterprise to the pandemic, Airbnb seems to be to have salvaged its IPO and probably its future. Photograph illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ

Extra on the Airbnb and DoorDash IPOs

Write to Heather Somerville at Heather.Somerville@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared within the December 12, 2020, print version as ‘Tech IPO Paydays Bolster Enterprise Companies.’

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