VC-backed IPOs Still Struggling
With the second quarter of 2010 officially behind us, let's look at some oh-so-important IPO numbers.
The good news: the second quarter was the strongest in terms of venture-backed IPO volume since the fourth quarter of 2007. The bad news is that the shares of the vast majority of those companies have traded down since going public. Additionally, the average amount raised per offering was the lowest since the first quarter of 2008.
A total of 17 VC-backed companies made their public debuts during the quarter, marking the third consecutive quarter for increased offerings, data from Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association showed. Those offerings raised nearly $1.3 billion, which is also the most since the last quarter of 2007.
But breaking that number down, the companies going public raised an average of just $75 million, the lowest quarterly average in two years (excluding quarters when there were no offerings). If you took out electric carmaker Tesla Motors' $226 million capital raise, the average drops to about $65 million. Not exactly the sign of a market truly hungry for new offerings. (Comparatively, the 86 offerings in 2007, when the market was considered robust, averaged $120 million.)
And if the performance of recent offerings helps determine how open the IPO markets remain for future issuances, things could get ugly. Of the 17 IPOs in the second quarter, just five were trading at or above their offering prices as of June 30. That means 70 percent were trading below their offering prices. Granted, the stock market as a whole had a lousy run during the quarter, with the Dow dropping roughly 10 percent. But if the overall market continues to tank, expect the IPO market to stall again. Why take the chance on a relatively unknown commodity when the blue-chip portion of your portfolio is taking losses?
That's not just bad news for the 44 VC-backed companies currently filed for an IPO with the SEC, but for companies looking to score a VC investment. After all, if investors don't have hopes of getting out of an investment, they're unlikely to want to make new ones.