A horde of companies have come public this year expecting the best, but even with strong market tailwinds many of these firms have fallen to the wayside. Peloton Interactive Inc. (NASDAQ: PTON) was the most recent company to come public and its initial public offering was a disaster. Not only did Peloton enter the market below its pricing, but it sank even lower still.
Companies looking to come public are waiting for peak valuation to get the most money possible in their IPO. We generally see rising valuations when markets are pushing higher or near all-time highs. So, despite a fairly positive 2019 (S&P 500 up roughly 19%), the IPO market has not been good.
So far, 2019 IPOs have raised nearly $50 billion, equal to all of 2018 and easily overtaking the $35 billion that was raised in 2017, according to Renaissance Capital. Additionally, Goldman Sachs says that this class off IPOs also has the lowest first-year profitability since the dot-com bubble.
Even WeWork, which has yet to come public (and likely will never at this rate) has drawn the market’s ire as it saw its valuation slashed over the course of this year. Near the onset of IPO talks for this company, a brokerage house valued WeWork at roughly $100 billion. By the time the IPO was shelved, some estimates valued the firm at $10 billion. Some analysts are even calling this a classic example of the “greater fool theory.”
Other major companies that have come public this year and have had a rough go include Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) (46.5%), Slack Technologies Inc. (NYSE: WORK) (−41.4%), Chewy Inc. (NYSE: CHWY) (−24.9%), Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) (−24.1%) and SmileDirectClub Inc. (NASDAQ: SDC) (−22.4%).
Now looking at the Renaissance IPO ETF (NYSEMKT: IPO), some might ask why it’s up 23% year to date despite all of these companies falling flat on their faces. Simply put, Roku Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKU) and DocuSign Inc. (NASDAQ: DOCU) make up 11% of the exchange-traded fund’s holdings (7% and 4%, respectively), and each is up significantly this year (237% and 55%, respectively).
However, out of all these losers, there are a couple bright spots. Namely, Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) and Pinterest Inc. (NYSE: PINS). Beyond Meat has seen explosive growth since it came public, although it has backed off since August. That is not to say that Beyond Meat can’t keep growing. It may be on the verge of a massive partnership with McDonald’s. Separately, Pinterest has been relatively positive this year, with the exception of August as well.