The 2019 IPO calendar has been packed with unicorns — Wall Street’s term for a fast-growing startup company that’s valued at over $1 billion.
The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the next Amazon, Google or Facebook is a tempting prospect for investors. But not all newly minted stocks live up to the breathless pre-IPO hype. (See what all the fuss, and risk, is about in our IPO explainer.)
It can take time for a company to find its equilibrium. Remember, if it’s a solid business and you’re investing for long-term growth (a strategy we wholeheartedly recommend), you don’t have to be first in line to buy.
2019 IPOs: Companies to watch
Unicorns like Uber, Lyft and Pinterest have already had their initial public offerings this year, but they’re just a few of the companies on the 2019 IPO roster. The list below includes details about the most highly anticipated IPOs this year, both upcoming and already listed:
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Some key hires, including an Amazon veteran to serve as the company’s chief financial officer, seemed to signal that the home-sharing matchmaker was tidying up to go public later this year. Though the latest buzz indicates the company may not IPO in 2019 after all, Airbnb continues to expand beyond spare bedrooms, basement apartments and second-home rentals. This year it acquired last-minute booking site HotelTonight and short-term meeting-space rental platform Gaest.com. But local lodging and short-term rental regulations in the U.S. and abroad continue to keep the company’s lawyers and public relations team up at night.
Beyond Meat Inc. (BYND)
Talk about a first-day IPO pop: The share price of the plant-based meat company nearly tripled in its initial day of trading in May, making it one of the best-performing IPOs for a company its size since 2000. Since then, the stock price has simmered and sizzled, dropping to the mid-$60s, then doubling again weeks later. Investors can have their fake steak shares and eat them, too: Beyond Meat products are sold in supermarkets and at restaurants like TGI Fridays.
Investors who aren’t still smarting from the spectacular Pets.com crash during the dot-bomb era in the early 2000s might be interested in Chewy. This e-tailer focused solely on pet products IPOed on the New York Stock Exchange on June 14 at an offering price of $22 and closed the day at $34.99, a share price increase of 59%. The company is an independent subsidiary of PetSmart Inc., which will remain a majority stockholder after the IPO. If shareholder rights are high on your priority list, consider that the company will have a dual-class share structure, which means Class A shares get one vote and Class B shares (those owned by insiders and existing stockholders) carry 10 votes each. That dual-class structure also means Chewy is ineligible to be included in the major indices, like the S&P 500, or any mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that passively track them.
CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD)
CrowdStrike has made a name for itself in the cybersecurity space. It’s the company that investigated the hack of Democratic National Committee servers in 2016, as well as other high-profile breaches. True to its name, the company uses crowdsourcing systems (along with artificial intelligence and other means) to identify threats and zero in on perpetrators. The company increased its IPO price to $34 the night before its June 12 IPO. Shares nearly doubled at one point during the first trading day, eventually closing up 71% from the offering price.
Fiverr International Ltd. (FVRR)
Rideshare services aren’t the only gig-economy companies debuting in 2019. Fiverr’s online marketplace connects companies looking to hire out jobs (or “buyers,” in Fiverr lingo) with freelancers (“sellers”). The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company says it has facilitated more than 50 million transactions since its inception. Fiverr’s June 13 IPO price was set at $21 per share; it eventually closed the day up 90%, at $39.90. Investors interested in Fiverr might look to the IPO of the company’s rival Upwork (UPWK) last October: After an initial pop, Upwork has recently been trading around its initial $15 offering price.
Rideshare company Lyft beat rival Uber to an IPO when it pulled onto the public market in March at a price of $72 a share. Since then the ride has been mostly downhill, with Lyft shares trading below the IPO price. (See how to buy Lyft stock.)
Fitness company Peloton, which is best known for its pricy tech-enabled stationary bikes, announced on June 5 that it filed paperwork with the SEC to go public. The start-up aims to make working out at home a “viable, exciting option,” with screen-equipped stationary bikes and treadmills that play a variety of live and on-demand group fitness classes. Peloton’s bikes start at $2,245; treadmills are nearly double that. Subscriptions to access classes are purchased separately. Peloton has raised nearly $1 billion in funding and is valued at around $4 billion.
Pinterest, the image search and sharing app, went public in April and quickly learned what it’s like to do business while under Wall Street scrutiny. Investors sent the share price tumbling in May when the company posted its first earnings report, illustrating just how volatile an IPO can be in its early days. (See how to buy Pinterest stock.)
Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash and that kid from your local pizza joint — they’re all vying for a parking spot on your street. But Postmates doesn’t just deliver dinner: It also shuttles everything from alcohol to Apple earbuds to customers. The company operates in 3,500 cities across the U.S. and Mexico and makes 5 million deliveries per month. It has taken a page from the Amazon Prime recipe book: For $9.99 a month, customers get free delivery on orders that cost more than $15. Postmates submitted a confidential draft registration statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission in February and is expected to go public in June or July.
Stock-trading commissions have gotten a lot cheaper in recent years, but few brokers can compete with free, which is the price per trade at Robinhood. That, combined with a $0 account minimum and a bare-bones but intuitive app-based platform, makes the broker popular with new investors. The company makes money by earning interest on customer cash balances, charging for a margin-trading service and taking rebates from market makers and trading venues. (Read NerdWallet’s Robinhood review.) IPO talk surrounding Robinhood intensified after the company hired its first-ever chief financial officer, Amazon veteran Jason Warnick. CEO Baiju Bhatt has said the company intends to go public, but has not yet presented a timeline or public filing.
Instead of issuing new shares for its IPO, workplace collaboration service Slack bypassed the Wall Street middlemen and did a direct-market listing on June 20. This nontraditional strategy means the company doesn’t issue new shares of stock — rather, company insiders can sell their existing stock directly to new investors. Slack stock shoppers should be aware that this method introduces an additional layer of investment risk. Slack’s reference price was $26 and the company opened at $38.50. (See how to buy Slack stock.)
The RealReal (REAL)
In May, consignment platform The RealReal filed with the SEC to go public. The company sells pre-owned luxury goods — a curated selection of apparel, accessories, jewelry, watches, art and other home goods — on consignment online and in a handful of retail stores. Goods are inspected and authenticated by RealReal experts before they’re put up for sale. The company processed 1.6 million orders in 2018, with an average order value of $446. As of March 31, RealReal has paid nearly $988 million in commissions to consignors. The company recently attained unicorn status with a valuation just over $1 billion, according to the Prime Unicorn Index, which measures the performance of private U.S. companies valued at $500 million or more. The RealReal IPO is expected to take place later this year.
The We Company (aka WeWork)
The co-working giant The We Company, formerly known as WeWork, confidentially filed Form S-1 with the SEC last December, but an IPO date has not been set. The rebranded name reflects the company’s expanding business scope beyond shared office space (WeWork) into flexible residential rentals (WeLive) and education (WeGrow). According to the Prime Unicorn Index, the company is valued at $49 billion, which would make it the second-most highly valued tech company to go public in 2019 after Uber.
With a valuation of $82 billion, rideshare app Uber was one of the biggest tech IPOs ever — and one of the most hotly anticipated offerings of 2019. But following the sputtering market debut of archrival Lyft in March, Uber went public in May at a lower-than-anticipated price of $45, and has mostly traded below that price since. (See how to buy Uber stock.)
This cloud-based videoconferencing company didn’t attract as much attention as other tech IPOs in the famed Class of 2019 when it went public in April, despite being one of the few profitable companies on the roster. But now investors are taking Zoom’s calls: The stock popped 80% on its first day of trading and is still up sharply from its IPO price. (See how to buy Zoom stock.)
|Company name (ticker)||Industry||Exchange||Expected (or actual) IPO date||Offer price/range|
|Beyond Meat Inc. (BYND)||Consumer goods||Nasdaq||5/2||$25|
|Chewy (CHWY)||Consumer services||NYSE||6/14||$22|
|CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD)||Technology||Nasdaq||6/12||$34|
|Fiverr International Ltd. (FVRR)||Technology||NYSE||6/13||$21|
|Lyft (LYFT)||Consumer services||Nasdaq||3/29||$72|
|The RealReal (REAL)||Consumer services||Nasdaq||TBD|
|The We Company||Consumer services||TBD|
|Uber (UBER)||Consumer services||NYSE||5/10||$45|
Sources: Nasdaq, NYSE, SEC filings
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