by Scott Denne
Another enterprise startup plans to test Wall Street’s seemingly insatiable appetite for business technology vendors. Slack has unveiled its prospectus for a direct listing on the NYSE, forgoing an initial public offering. Like other recent enterprise tech companies to enter the public market, Slack, though heavily funded at premium valuations, still appears to have room to trade up in its debut.
The firm’s forthcoming listing follows closely on the IPO of fellow workplace communications software developer Zoom Video. The latter company fetched an astonishing 60x trailing revenue in its first day of trading – a level it retained in the week since. Slack would need only a fraction of that multiple to leap beyond the roughly $6bn valuation it boasted in its most recent fundraising. There’s every reason to think it could.
As we noted in our coverage of Zoom’s first day, enterprise companies (those selling technology to businesses) have gotten a bullish reception in the public markets, with many of the 2018 and 2019 crop of IPOs trading above 20x revenue. To match its private company valuation, Slack, which posted $401m in revenue in its recently closed fiscal year, would need to fetch a 15x multiple. Its shares have recently traded hands in private transactions at twice that level. And given the parallels between it and Zoom, investors could carry it even further.
Both vendors are roughly equal in size (Zoom generated $330m in trailing revenue), with a similar growth rate. Slack came up just a few percentage points shy of doubling its topline, while Zoom rose a bit above that. The two companies also play in separate corners of the workplace productivity market that are both expected to garner increasing enterprise investments in the coming year. According to 451 Research’s VoCUL: Corporate Mobility and Digital Transformation, 40% and 43% of respondents plan to invest in team collaboration (Slack’s purview) and online meetings (Zoom’s specialty), respectively, over the next 12 months.
by Scott Denne
Amid a short burst of high-profile tech IPOs, enterprise offerings are soaring, while consumer-focused companies are getting a less-bullish reception. In their public debuts, both Zoom Video and Pinterest priced above their range and traded up from there. The former, a video-conferencing specialist, reaped a hefty valuation increase in its debut. The social networking vendor, however, stayed just above its last private funding.
To be sure, Pinterest hardly received a bearish reception. It began trading at about $24 per share, for a 25% bump, bringing it slightly up from the price of its series H round in 2017. Currently, Pinterest is valued at $13bn, or nearly 16x trailing sales. Zoom, by comparison, jumped 75% from its IPO price when it entered the Nasdaq, garnering a $16.2bn market cap, or 60x trailing sales.
The discrepancy between enterprise- and consumer-tech offerings isn’t limited to these two. Last month, Lyft made a lackluster debut – its shares now trade 20% below its initial price. A few days later, PagerDuty, an IT ops provider, jumped 60% when it hit the public markets. The comparative reliability of enterprise-tech stocks accounts for some of the discrepancy.
As we noted in our coverage of PagerDuty’s IPO, many of last year’s enterprise IPOs still trade at or near 20x revenue. And many of the past consumer unicorns have faltered – Snap’s shares have fallen more than half from its 2017 IPO and Blue Apron is practically a penny stock. Perhaps more importantly, the recent enterprise debutants left room in their cap table for a first-day bump, while consumer companies extracted all they could from private investors, at the highest price they could, before turning to the public markets. Zoom raised $160m on the way to its IPO, while Pinterest took in almost 10x that amount.
by Brenon Daly
On the same day the NYSE gave a warm welcome to a pair of enterprise tech vendors that are both running right around a level that, historically, would be the absolute minimum for a company to go public, investors also got their first official glimpse at the financials of a consumer tech behemoth that’s 10 times the size of the debutants. When the tech IPO market can cover that broad a spread, it truly is open for business.
Start with those companies that have already seen through their offering. The relatively slight build of both PagerDuty and Tufin Software Technologies didn’t really hurt them as they stepped onto the NYSE on Thursday. That’s particularly true for PagerDuty, a subscription-based IT incident-response software provider that put up just $118m in sales last year. Tufin, which recorded just $85m in sales in 2018, is about a year behind PagerDuty, assuming it holds its roughly 30% growth rate.
Nonetheless, PagerDuty priced its offering above the expected range and soared more than 50% on its debut. As we noted in our report on the offering, investors are valuing the company at some $2.8bn, or more than 20 times last year’s sales. Having already secured its standing as a unicorn in the private market, PagerDuty is now approaching ‘tricorn’ status in the public market.
Tufin debuted at a far more muted valuation, but still created more than $600m of market value. With 34.2 million shares outstanding (on a non-diluted basis), Tufin is trading at more than 7x 2018 revenue. As we outlined in our preview of the offering, Tufin’s valuation probably has less to do with how much revenue it generates than how it generates that revenue: back-end-loaded sales in a license/maintenance model.
But both those realized offerings on Thursday were very quickly and unceremoniously overshadowed by the anticipated debut of Uber. The ride-hailing company’s planned IPO, which will be brought to market by a herd of 29 underwriters, makes the offerings of Tufin and PagerDuty seem like a series B funding. Across the board, Uber’s financials – funding, revenue, losses – are orders of magnitude larger than either of the enterprise-focused IPOs. And yet, for all the variety of the companies and their offerings, each of them can find investors ready to throw more capital their way. The bulls are running right now.
by Scott Denne
Following a nearly six-month lull, the market for enterprise IPOs has picked up where it left off – handing out gushing valuations to high-growth SaaS companies. PagerDuty became the newest beneficiary, pricing above its range and moving well beyond that as the stock began trading. The multiple commanded by the IT operations software vendor sets the stage for another notable year for enterprise IPOs.
In its public debut today, PagerDuty’s share price jumped to $38, about 60% from where it priced its offering ($24). That surge leaves the company with a $2.8bn market cap, valuing it at 23.5x trailing revenue. It also gives PagerDuty a more favorable multiple than many of its peers. For example, the debutant trades within a turn of Elastic, a 2017 vintage IPO that’s double the size of PagerDuty – it posted $241m trailing revenue to PagerDuty’s $118m – and growing at a faster pace (70% vs. 50% year over year last quarter).
PagerDuty isn’t the only enterprise company feeling Wall Street’s good graces. Video-conferencing provider Zoom set a price range earlier this week implying a valuation of $7.7bn (about 28x revenue) on its forthcoming IPO. And infosec vendor Tufin saw a 30% bump in its debut today (we’ll cover that company in this space tomorrow). There’s little doubt that after a dip in equity prices last year Wall Street has, once again, become a welcoming place for enterprise startups – several of last year’s other IPOs trade at multiples in the 20x neighborhood.
The S&P 500 has risen 15% since the start of the year and the latest consumer confidence survey from 451 Research’s VoCUL shows faith in the US stock market coming back to the same levels as last autumn. Should new offerings continue to garner healthy valuations, this year’s IPO pipeline could fill up to compete with last year’s record of 15 enterprise technology debuts, despite the first quarter passing without one.