Special Report

These Companies Made 2019 a Huge Year for IPOs

Douglas A. McIntyre, Paul Ausick

2019 was an extraordinary year for initial public offerings. Several of the world’s largest unicorns (private startups worth over $1 billion) went public, but often with poor results

WeWork, one of the most valuable unicorns of all time when it reached $47 billion, stumbled ahead of its failed IPO and then almost ran out of money. Famous companies like Uber and Peloton sold off after they went public and continue to trade below their IPO prices. Peloton was one of the latest in the series of letdowns in the 2019 IPO season (See: Was Peloton the Final Straw for the IPO Market?)

Why did so many companies go public this year, even if their share prices proved their IPOs were financial mistakes? The primary engine was the stock market itself. Up over 20% this year, underwriters assumed they were launching companies into a friendly environment. Some companies that went public had such poor financial results that even bullish trading trends could not save them. Another reason was that private investors were impatient to cash in — Uber’s first investors put money into the company in 2011 

While the year was dominated by tech IPOs, several other innovative companies also reached public markets. High on this list is Beyond Meat. Its meat substitute products became all the rage both among people who eat meat and those who don’t. Meatless burgers even began to go on sale at fast food chains like Burger King

24/7 Wall St. consulted lists of public offerings, particularly data kept by IPOScoop. We also reviewed lists provided by several publications that track IPOs. These included Business Insider, CNET, and CNBC. The value of the IPO is the market cap based on the price set by the company and its underwriters for the moment the stock begins to trade. 

We considered all companies listed on U.S. exchanges that completed an initial public offering (IPO) through November. As we move toward next year, these are the IPOs to watch for in 2020.

Click here to see the biggest IPOs of the year