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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Two of the most eagerly watched startups in tech, Uber and Airbnb, both indicated yesterday that they may go public in 2019.

Why it matters: Private financing has way outpaced IPO fundraising in tech since the '90s, as shown by one of Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker's slides.

  • But despite the rise of private billion-dollar "unicorns," and a growing concern that publicly traded companies sacrifice long-term vision for short-term concerns, IPOs remain the tech business's holy grail.
  • After all, IPOs can transmute the blood, sweat, and tears of startup labor into personal wealth and give VC firms the exits they need to help fund their next round of startup investments.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said Tuesday that his company will be ready to go public next year, though whether it will do so has not yet been decided.

  • "I want to make sure it is a major benefit to the company if we do... It could happen," he said at Recode's 2018 Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi expressed similar ambitions in a CNBC interview and on stage at Code, though he was less equivocal.

  • "2019. Second half," he said, adding, "I need a CFO though."
  • Interviewer Kara Swisher suggested he find the right woman for the job. "I don't know if it will be a woman or a man, but I am going to make damn sure I look at both," Khosrowshahi replied.

Meanwhile, two fairly recent IPO companies, Spotify and Stitch Fix, shared their lessons learned.

  • Spotify CEO Daniel Ek talked about being punished by Wall Street for only matching earnings expectations in its first public earnings report — even though it had given guidance just 10 days before the quarter's end.
  • Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake shared her experiences, expressing regret that expectations got so far ahead of the company, especially since its $1.5 billion valuation was far more than the $300 million valuation it had when it had last raised money.

Go deeper

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally-funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Twitter's next act

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is exiting the company he helped build at a time when its future has never been so uncertain.

Why it matters: The person who controls Twitter controls the de facto public square — with implications for politics, media and free speech.

38 mins ago - Health

CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday strengthened its previous recommendation for booster shots, saying that everyone 18 and older "should" receive a booster dose.

Why it matters: Last month, CDC director Rochelle Walensky accepted a key advisory committee's recommendation that adults "may" get the shot. The slight, but strengthened, change in wording comes amid the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant.