According to CNBC, 2019 could witness a "$200 billion IPO shakeup" thanks to the emergence of several major players that appear prepared to go public all around the same time. With flashbacks to the late 1990s, many of the companies likely to hit the stock market this year are startups driven by technology. Many of them are so-called unicorn companies—the rare and mythical startups that reach $1 billion in valuation while still functioning as privately owned businesses.
The booming stock market has boosted corporate valuations, making successful initial public offerings (IPOs) more attractive than ever to investors large and small. From familiar rideshare services and software companies to biotech startups and corporate security firms, these companies are poised to go public in 2019, offer an IPO, and issue stock on the open market, which would make owning a piece of those companies a possibility for the masses for the first time ever.
Read on to find out the 20 companies that could go public in 2019. (All data compiled in February of 2019)
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Uber is racing against its chief competitor Lyft to become the first rideshare service to go public in what just might be the most closely watched IPO pursuit of 2019. The company cut losses of $4.5 billion in 2017 to just $370 million of red ink in 2018, but that dramatic bottom-line improvement was almost exclusively the result of the sale of overseas businesses. Also, the company's growth slowed significantly in the most recent quarter, but despite all the drama, Uber confidentially filed IPO paperwork last month and could obtain a valuation as high as a $120 billion.
In the race to become the first rideshare company to make it to the stock market, Lyft is sprinting toward becoming the first unicorn in any industry to roll out an IPO in 2019. Lyft is still not profitable, but its revenues are soaring, and steady growth continues. In its most recent round of funding, Lyft was valued at $15.1 billion, more than twice its previous valuation.
Big data analytics startup Palantir reported revenues of nearly $1 billion in 2018, representing a growth rate of 50%, which is twice its previously expected pace. Even still, the $41 billion IPO valuation that has been floated is probably high. The company's performance, however, will almost certainly be enough to gain it access to new streams of both public and private capital.
P2P hospitality service Airbnb is cruising toward a likely 2019 IPO on the heels of two back-to-back years of profits. One of the most closely watched unicorns in the world, Airbnb expects to hit 500 million guest arrivals by the end of this year's first quarter—that's an increase of 100 million since September 2018. Although the company is largely keeping mum on numbers, Airbnb was valued at more than $30 billion during 2016–'17 financing rounds and claimed to have passed $1 billion in quarterly revenue in the third quarter of 2018.
Shared workspace provider WeWork recently crossed the $2.5 billion annualized revenue mark and has cash to burn thanks to $10 billion in funding raised from SoftBank, which actually pulled back after planning to invest $16 billion. The company, which boasts Ashton Kutcher as a strategic partner and promoter, could soon count the actor among its major investors now that WeWork has achieved a likely valuation of $47 billion.
It has long been rumored that image-based social network Pinterest was due for an IPO. Now, however, the company has begun interviewing banks like Goldman Sachs to serve as potential underwriters for a bid to finally go public. Pinterest, valued at $12 billion with 250 million monthly users, could hit the stock market as early as the second quarter of 2019.
Cloudflare, a website security software company, is likely to go public in the first half of this year, and its IPO will likely be based on a valuation of $3.5 billion. Cloudflare, which has hired Goldman Sachs to lead its bid to go public, raised $110 million from companies like Alphabet, Qualcomm, Fidelity, and Microsoft.
Robinhood, a stock-trading platform that allows users to invest with their spare change, made a big move toward going public when it hired a longtime Amazon power broker as its CFO. The company, which is wildly popular with millennials and growing rapidly, raised $363 million from Google's venture capital fund and other investors to bring its valuation up to $5.6 billion.
Workplace messaging app Slack has reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to take the company public. Yet another unicorn with an IPO projected for 2019, Slack is likely to hit the market with a $10 billion-plus valuation. In August 2018, a private fundraising bid raised $427 million, which came on the heels of $250 million raised in 2017.
Although cloud storage company Rackspace is likely to become one of 2019's biggest IPOs, it's by no means a new player to the game. The company has been in business for 20 years and was publicly traded until 2016 when an equity firm took it private in a $4.3 billion deal. That firm is now looking to reintroduce Rackspace to the market, this time with a likely valuation of $10 billion.
The food-delivery wars are raging, and Postmates has continued to put itself in a position to emerge as one of the victors. Most recently, it raised $100 million in the runup to an expected 2019 IPO, the latest in a multi-stage fundraising spree that netted $681 million. The company, which now completes 5 million deliveries per month, has enlisted JPMorgan to spearhead its bid to go public.
Cybersecurity software firm CrowdStrike has recently hired Goldman Sachs and is widely considered to be a front runner for a major 2019 IPO. Founded in 2012, the company has recently raised $200 million and is hoping to earn its stock market listing with a valuation in excess of $3 billion.
Some of the world's largest investment firms have recently backed data-management company Rubrik, which recently raised $261 million. Rubrik's CEO has said the funding wasn't about going public, but the company has made several executive-level changes and additions recently that suggest otherwise, and industry experts now expect Rubrik to hit the open market in 2019.
Peloton makes high-end, in-home exercise bikes that are paired with streaming workout subscriptions, and there is almost every indication that the company will go public in 2019. Peloton is actively shopping for banks, it jumped from $400 million in revenue to $700 million in a single year, and its two most recent rounds of fundraising netted nearly $900 million.
Video conferencing company Zoom is poised to go public in 2019 and has reportedly hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to lead the charge. In 2017, Zoom joined the unicorn club when it secured $100 million in venture capital funding, earning it a valuation of $1 billion. The company now, however, hopes to far surpass that valuation with its anticipated IPO.
After nearly two decades as a privately owned company, customer feedback firm Medallia has long been rumored to be on its way to going public. In 2018, however, the company ended an 18-month search for a new CEO, a signal to the industry that a 2019 IPO is now highly likely. The company was given a $1.25 billion valuation in 2015 after that year's round of fundraising. Investors were excited, however, when it reported $250 million in GAAP funding in the 2018 fiscal year.
Just one year ago, DoorDash was lost in a crowded field that saturates the food delivery industry. It started turning a profit and separated itself by focusing on increasing the profits of restaurants, a strategy that attracted $535 million in investment. It used that money to expand its services from 600 cities to 3,000, tripled its valuation to $4 billion, and is now poised to go public.
Call center software startup Afiniti built an artificial intelligence platform that now defines its brand. The company quietly raised $130 million, a move Afiniti's CEO said lifts the company's value to $1.6 billion. Afiniti is now backed by some of the biggest names in telecom, finance, and tech, and its recent momentum compelled the company to confidentially file for an IPO.
Software-as-a-service company WalkMe announced in 2018 that it raised $40 million on top of the $167 million it had secured in a previous round of fundraising. It also announced plans to go public by the end of 2019. Thanks to a total fundraising haul of $207.5 million for use toward its corporate digital transformation business, WalkMe is now valued at more than $1 billion and is experiencing rapid growth.
Rounding out the list is cancer-testing biotech startup Grail, which is backed by Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Bill Gates. One of the most highly valued biotech startups in the world, Grail had considered embarking on a $500 million overseas fundraising venture to be listed on the Hong Kong stock market, but is now much more likely to pursue a 2019 IPO in the United States.