Feb 11, 2019 - Economy

Shattering the "IPO window"

Image of unicorn and dollar sign.

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The traditional "IPO window" for tech companies has been shattered, says Scenic Advisement, a San Francisco-based investment bank that works with private companies.

Why it matters: Trends like staying private longer and raising more money before going public have changed the equation, and we'll see a wider variety of approaches instead of one-size-fits-all.

"It's not ever gonna look the same again," Scenic Advisement co-founder Barrett Cohn tells Axios of startups seeking perfect market conditions and then getting the first-day price pop. "If there's a market issue, companies are gonna find a way to get it done."

  • Expect to see many high-profile companies float a relatively small number of shares, including IPOs in which only one class of stock is listed for companies with multiple classes (to better maintain control).
  • Expect to see more IPO "alternatives," like the direct listing route taken by Spotify and (coming soon) Slack.
  • Liquidity via secondary sales or acquisitions will continue to be a popular option.

Yes, but: The IPO window may have been a mirage all along. "The IPO window was already greatly exaggerated," Lise Buyer, founder of IPO consulting firm Class V Group, adding that it's only ever truly shut after a major financial crisis or if the government is shut down.

Go deeper: Fundraising no longer the top goal of some tech IPOs

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