While there's been a lot of excitement about tech initial public offerings in 2019, as seen by the strong demand sending newly issued shares soaring, there have also been grumblings that the valuations are overstretched.
"The valuation at this level makes no sense," Eric Schiffer, CEO of the Patriarch Organization, a venture capital and private equity firm that invests in digital media companies, recently told TheStreet, in reference to Lyft's (LYFT) - Get Report first trade.
But this is nothing like the tech bubble of 2000. Here's why.
These companies don't have earnings because they're unprofitable, so we rely on price-to-sales ratios. The median price-to-sales ratio of five of the biggest tech IPOs in 2019 is 17. Those five are Lyft, Uber (set to price at roughly $47 a share), Pinterest (PINS) - Get Report , Zoom (ZM) - Get Report and Beyond Meat (BYND) - Get Report . Of course, all of these companies have strong, and growing, revenue streams.
Now let's compare.
These IPOs were just before the tech bubble burst. The average price-to-sales ratio of companies just going public in 2000 was 48.9, according to a study by the business program at the University of Florida. Many of the stocks that plummeted to lose most of their value in the tech bubble didn't even have any revenue either.
There's one caveat to this comparison. We still have to see more IPOs. Slack and several others are set to go public soon. Currently, the five mentioned companies are obviously a very small sample size, and the range of price-to-sales ratio's is large. Lyft's multiple of 10, which is still a premium to many growth tech stocks in the world, is the low end, while Zoom's multiple of 50 is at the high end. Still, it seems at this juncture, 2019's IPOs are no where near as bubbly as what we saw in 2000.
Elsewhere, Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report , RealMoney's stock of the day, isn't moving much (up 0.80% to $87.06 a share), as the market ponders what its recent earnings report means for the future of the company. Near-term sales look weaker as handset demand remains weak. But Kevin Curran of RealMoney writes that a long-term success story for the stock has very much to do with Qualcomm's supplying of 5G capable devices.