Peloton Interactive last night raised $1.16 billion in its IPO, giving it an initial market cap of around $8.1 billion.
Why it matters: It's a much-needed IPO win for both New York's tech startup market and lead banker J.P. Morgan, both of which were reeling from WeWork's spontaneous combustion.
Details: Peloton priced 40 million shares at $29, which was the high end of its range. Existing investor Technology Crossover Ventures plugged in another $100 million, via a concurrent placement. It will begin trading later this morning on the Nasdaq under ticker PTON.
- Renaissance Capital reports that the $9.6 billion fully-diluted initial valuation is the highest such mark ever for a New York-based startup IPO.
ROI: The company had raised nearly $1 billion in VC funding, most recently at a $4.15 billion post-money valuation. Major backers include TCV, Tiger Global, Fidelity, True Ventures, and L Catterton.
- Fidelity and Tiger Global also needed a returns reprieve. Fidelity has big stakes in both Juul and WeWork, while Tiger Global backed Juul.
Yes, there are doubters. Not just because of the faddish nature of fitness, but also because Peloton has grown exclusively in a growing economy. People may still work out during a recession, but lower-cost options are abundant. Plus, Peloton doesn't seem to have accounted for the possibility of widespread defaults on hardware financing plans. Expect some stubborn shorts.
I'm pretty bullish, probably because I own a Peloton and am a satisfied customer. Plus, Apple doesn't seem interested in playing in connected fitness hardware/software/media, even though that seems to be its sweet spot.
- That said, Peloton missed an opportunity to offer IPO shares to users. It's a company that emphasizes "community" — its Facebook page engagement, for example, is insane — and owning a few shares could have engendered a sense of ownership for the purpose of further protecting against churn (at least on the outermost margins).
- A "peloton" is a group of cyclists riding together.
The bottom line: Public market investors bought high into an unprofitable, VC-backed, tech company that pioneered a new category. Uber and WeWork aren't unicorns of the apocalypse. They're exceptions that prove the persistent rule.