The window for going public is open for today's most attractive technology and digital media companies, even if Wall Street has been relatively cool to new tech issues.
Yesterday, mobile ad network operator Millennial Media announced that it is joining the IPO fray, filing its S-1 in the U.S. to go public.
We may be in a bubble, but you wouldn't necessarily know it considering the latest generation of internet IPOs.
Groupon's stock is trading below its first day closing price, Zynga's stock closed below its issue price when it debuted last week and the market didn't seem too excited about the spin-off of TripAdvisor from Expedia.
So what gives? If everyone knows that the internet is the real deal, why aren't these new issues selling like hotcakes? Here are five reasons.
Joining a young startup that goes on to become big is the stereotypical Silicon
Valley 'dream.' And for employees lucky enough to have joined companies
like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Groupon early on, dreams do come
Thank the Silicon Valley-originated practice of granting equity to
employees for that. To attract the best and brightest, most technology
startups have little choice but to give their employees an ownership
stake in the companies they're helping build.
It's the Silicon Valley
tradition that has become a standard, and for the employees who join
startups that go on to do great things, equity can be the basis for
fortunes large and small.
Times are good for internet entrepreneurs. VC money is flowing again, supporting a startup boom the likes of which hasn't been seen since the late 1990s.
Large companies aren't shy about acquiring technology and talent, and for the most promising companies, the public markets are once again open for business.
Although much of the startup investment activity and buzz is focused on startups in Silicon Valley and New York, Europe isn't without startup action of its own.
Social networking started its meteoric rise more than a half a decade ago, but some of the biggest names in the space are just getting set to really cash in.
One of those names: LinkedIn, the social network that has carved out a lucrative niche as the social network for professionals. It's going public soon, and could pave a golden path for social networking brethren like Facebook when they go public.
Digg is dead. Sure, the company won't be disappearing today,
tomorrow or next week, but to anyone who lived through the first .com
bust, the writing is on the wall: the company's redesign woes and
yesterday's 37% staff reduction don't bode well for its future prospects.
For Digg to survive and thrive once again, it's going to have to beat the kind of odds that few companies do.
Popular microblogging service Twitter is the Silicon Valley equivalent of a Hollywood celebrity that the paparazzi can't stop following. And it doesn't look like that's set to change anytime soon given that the company may be on the verge of raising another massive round of funding.
According to TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, multiple sources are indicating that Twitter CEO Evan Williams disclosed a new $50m (give or take) round of funding at a company meeting. And the valuation for the round will be four times the previous round's $250m valuation. Yes, $1bn.
Less than a year ago, it would have been hard to imagine that Google would be trudging along, eking out bottom line growth primarily by cutting expenses. And it would have been hard for some to believe that the hottest startups would seemingly be no closer to solving their monetization questions.
The reality: the internet economy is a lot like the rest of the global economy.
The current state of the financial markets has made it very difficult for startups to go public. Even startups with significant revenue and bright futures have no guarantee that they'll be able to go public anytime soon.
The dismal IPO market is taking its toll on venture capitalists, who invest in companies that they expect, if successful, will be liquid within some years.
eBay, the online auction giant, is doing a bit of Spring cleaning.
On Monday, it announced that it had sold StumbleUpon, a content discovery service it purchased for $75m in May 2007, back to its founders and a group of venture capitalists.