The hugely successful initial public offering of Snap (SNAP) sends a positive message to unicorns and their backers who have worried that the public markets will no longer support private tech valuations. Events such as Square's (SQ) IPO at less than half its private valuation, and an early 2017 stumble in tech stock prices had created concerns about the market's receptivity to highly-valued names.
Even with muffled voting rights and a lock-up period for new investors, Snap's offering was 12 times oversubscribed according to CNBC. Shares priced at $17 each and eventually debuted at $24, giving the company a roughly $33.4-billion valuation that easily topped the $18 billion implied by Snap's most recent round of private fund raising.
"It is a great day for Snap to go public," said Rohit Kulkarni, managing director and head of research at private securities investment outfit SharesPost. "It's even a better day for other companies that are waiting in the wings."
The company is early in its life cycle, given its live of profitability and its level of monetization. "That creates greater risk but is also creates greater potential for upside," Kulkarni said.
"If it holds its IPO value for the next 30 days, that creates a positive aura around those companies thinking about going public of issues over the next 6 to 12 months," he added.
This year and 2018 could be positive years for IPOs, Kulkarni suggested, as 2013 and 2014 were strong following the IPO of Facebook (FB) in May 2012.