• Triton

2019 Tech IPO Winners and Losers – Part Six of Six

Clear winners and losers by company type and transaction structure.

2019 was a reckoning for the new category of mega-cap startups. The Uber, Lyft, and Peloton IPOs together raised more than $11 billion and created $106 billion of public market cap, while their businesses were still deeply unprofitable.

It was tough sledding for these misfit toys, and all of them started life as public companies – and finished the year – underwater (although Lyft popped for a nanosecond and Peloton rallied above its IPO price for a bit).

As a general matter, all the transactions over $1 billion struggled, even though Chewy seems to have recovered.

For non-US issuers, particularly Chinese companies, 2019 was also painful. Only Fangdd finished the year above its IPO price, after a flat beginning and recent gains.

Beyond that, clear trends are visible by company type and IPO structure. 2019 Tech IPOs – By sector and transaction structure

For retail it was a roller coaster. The IPOs worked at first but sold off before the lockups came off. Revolve was up by as much as 168% over its IPO price, and then fell to 20% below its issue price before finishing the year flat. The RealReal chart is similar, if less pronounced. And Chewy’s curve shape mirrored the others, but at higher levels that never saw negative territory, finishing up for the year.

2019 was also painful for all the marketplaces. Uber and Lyft remain a third or more below their IPO prices while Fiverr is back above its IPO price – just.

And 2019 ended up being painful for the one publisher go public – the Pinterest IPO worked until it didn't – making Pinterest an arguable misfit toy. Unless investors understand ad-supported content businesses and just don’t like them.


For the normal, easy-to-understand SaaS companies, the deals generally worked and worked well. Uniform disclosure and modest deal sizes and loss profiles didn’t hurt. Sprout Social and PagerDuty finished the year underwater, but temporarily. And Bill.com’s recent star performance shows how this sector may remain protected from WeWork fallout.

Except the above appears to be untrue for Slack. Is it a misfit toy, or did the company suffer for listing directly and skipping a roadshow to actually sell its stock to investors? Discuss.