To my infinite chagrin, we’re probably not getting tech IPOs until later this year
The IPO market thus far in 2023 has been a goose egg, and we probably won’t get any interesting IPOs for another quarter or two. This is incredibly sad for your friendly, local TechCrunch+ reporting crew who love an S-1 more than anything else.
The good news is that when we do get the IPO train back on the rails, we should be able to see a pretty good run of public-market debuts.
Let’s talk about why.
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If you delve back through Silicon Valley Bank research, which now feels rather different than it did two weeks ago, you can get a pretty good idea why institutions are not expecting a flurry of IPOs in the near future. In its State of the Markets report for the first half of 2023, SVB predicted that the market for “U.S. VC-backed tech IPOs will likely remain dormant in H1 2023.”
Thus far, that’s been 100% correct.
However, the bank also predicted that as “the market gets clarity on the [interest] rate ceiling [and] forward revenue multiples align with long-term averages and pent-up demand builds from institutional investors” and unicorns, we should expect no fewer than ten IPOs in the back half of the year from venture-backed companies.
When we first read that a while ago, it felt a touch optimistic. Why would we go from zero to double digits in such a short timeframe?
We’ve since gotten a bit more context. TechCrunch+ recently spoke with Arjun Kapur, a managing partner and founder at Forecast Labs, on the IPO question.
(Forecast Labs is a sister entity to Comcast Ventures. The latter is a venture shop that invests in areas of strategic interest to its parent company, Comcast NBCUniversal, a corporate amalgamation that stretches from internet access to cable television to content itself. Forecast, in contrast, trades equity for access to television advertising, essentially offering lower-than-market rate CPA-based advertising on the tube for equity. It’s a pretty interesting model for companies that want to reach a larger consumer audience but at a discount.)