This has been a banner year for initial public offerings. In 2021 so far, they have totaled more than $301 billion collectively, much beyond 2020's record of $168 billion, according to Dealogic. Next year, tech, and particularly fintech, likely will dominate IPO activity. With venture capital flowing freely, some of the largest private tech companies in the United States held out on predicted IPOs in 2021 because they didn't need additional cash infusions. But a different story could play out in the coming year. These are the fast-growing companies to watch that might--finally--go public in 2022.
Founded in 2009 out of a small Dublin office by brothers John and Patrick Collison, Stripe moved part of its operations to San Francisco and has grown reliably over the past 12 years to a valuation of $95 billion. That figure makes it the most valuable privately held tech startup in the United States. The payment-processing company has a global workforce of more than 4,000, and boasts customers such as Amazon and DoorDash, which help make it bring in annual revenue of more than $7.5 billion. Stripe hasn't announced plans to go public, and co-founder John Collison said recently: "We're very happy as a private company." Still, Stripe reportedly has tapped a law firm to explore early steps, according to Reuters.
For founder Apoorva Mehta, Instacart was the one that worked. After leaving his job at Amazon and moving to San Francisco, he tried his hand at building startups. Twenty failed before Instacart, which he started in 2012. While the online grocery-delivery company has had ups and downs, it did well during the pandemic. Mehta declared his intention to take the company public back in 2019, but the company has been shuffling its feet on an IPO ever since. The company's revenue tripled in 2020 to $1.5 billion--valuing the company at $39 billion. In 2021, Fidji Simo took over as chief executive and reportedly plans to continue to focus on growth and broadening Instacart's services.
In 2015, serial entrepreneur Jason Citron founded Discord to help remote developer teams communicate more seamlessly. The chat-server company struck a key with gamers, though--and growth soared. Through the pandemic Discord has boasted 150 million active monthly users, and Microsoft attempted to acquire it in 2020 for $10 billion. Discord opted to stay independent. The company is not exactly short on cash, however: Discord raised $500 million in a recent funding round, bringing its valuation to $15 billion. If it doesn't list its IPO before the turn of the year, it's likely in early 2022.
4. Impossible Foods
Stanford professor Patrick Brown decided to take on Big Meat in 2011. He called his plant-based protein products company Impossible Foods. "The goal here is we have to completely replace animals as a technology in the food system," Brown told Inc. in 2019. "That is a huge task." Impossible Foods rolled out its faux burger patties in small markets and chains first, but expanded to tens of thousands of grocery stores quickly. The Redwood City, California-based company has more than 800 employees, and has raised $1.5 billion in venture capital funding. It could certainly go public this year, something its founder has called "inevitable," and is reportedly looking for a $10 billion valuation.
Howie Liu, Andrew Ofstad, and Emmett Nicholas started Airtable, which makes a cloud-collaboration tool for teams, in San Francisco in 2012. Actor Ashton Kutcher provided early backing for the company. Airtable's customizable cell-based tables soon became popular for tracking teams' work in 200,000 companies around the world, including Netflix and Shopify. While an IPO is likely in the cards, Airtable doesn't need a quick cash infusion--the company has raised three rounds of funding since early 2020, $735 million this month, bringing its valuation to $11.7 billion. As such, keep an eye on Airtable for later in 2022.
Swedish fintech Klarna has built a massive following for its app that lets shoppers split purchases into four interest-free payments. The company, which has offices in Columbus, Ohio, and New York City, has been around since 2005. To date, Klarna boasts 20 million users and a valuation of more than $45 billion.
Chime is another fast-growing fintech firm that seems close to an IPO, though it hasn't confirmed reports. Chris Britt and Ryan King founded the company, which does no-fee online banking, in 2013 in San Francisco. Chime is in talks to IPO at a valuation of more than $35 billion.