2019 IPO Market: Better Than the Headlines

The long-awaited debuts of mega unicorns Uber and Lyft were mega busts, capped off by WeWork’s kamikaze IPO attempt in September. But beyond these headline-grabbing disappointments, the IPO market had a mostly good year. Returns averaged 20%, with  159  IPOs  raising  $46  billion  in  proceeds. Biotechs  remained  the  single  most  active  sector,  followed  closely  by  technology. While tech unicorn Slack failed to hold up after its direct listing, fast growing software makers with a clear path to profitability like Zoom  Video  and  Bill.com  had  strong  trading  with  traditional  IPOs.  High  growth  consumer  names  had mixed  receptions,  with Beyond Meat soaring while Peloton and SmileDirect suffered. Blank check IPOs were active, with Virgin Galactic successfully going public from a SPAC  acquisition.  Entering  2020,  the  IPO  backlog  of  billion-dollar  companies  is  larger  than  ever,  underpinning another fairly active year.

Key Takeaways:

  • US IPO Count Falls to 159, Proceeds About Flat
  • IPOs Average a 20% Gain, Driven by Strong First-Days and Several 200%+ Returns
  • Renaissance IPO Index Returns 34%, Outperforming the Broader Market
  • 9 IPOs Raise Over $1 Billion, with Listings from Mega Unicorns Uber, Lyft, Pinterest, and Slack
  • Healthcare and Tech Dominate IPO Activity for the Fifth Straight Year
  • 2020’s Massive Backlog Will See Excitement for Some and Down Rounds for Others

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