It’s not always clear which companies are preparing to go public. From raising venture capital to confidential filings and mandated silent periods, it can take years of planning before a company lets it slip that it has its eye on a big exit event.
But EquityZen has its ways.
EquityZen is a secondary-markets platform that lets startup employees sell their equity to institutional investors before a company goes public.
About 125 companies work with EquityZen, according to CEO Atish Davda. The means the startup has a strong grasp on which startups are in demand with big investors and which private companies are commanding the biggest premiums for their shares.
“When we take a look at how the private market is treating a company ahead of a potential exit, it’s generally a reasonable indicator of what kind of demand there might be on the public market,” Davda told Business Insider.
To create its predictions, Davda said, EquityZen looked at which companies spoke publicly about big exits, which ones recently hired a chief financial officer, and who had been in the news a lot lately. But the team also looked at one piece of data that’s not generally available: how much investor interest there is in buying a slice of the company.
“For us, it isn’t truly validated until we’ve seen an increase in demand,” he said. “Not only is that a signal that a planned exit is imminent, but it also helps us understand how an IPO might fare in the public markets.”
Here are the tech companies that EquityZen predicts will go public next year:
Afiniti, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to match customers with customer-service agents, announced a $US130 million funding round in October. That round valued the startup at $US1.6 billion.
Airbnb is a poster child for highly valued, venture-backed startups. With a valuation of nearly $US30 billion, the 10-year-old startup has faced some anxiety and frustration from its employees who want liquidity – so much so that Airbnb came right out and promised its staff it would go public between June 2019 and late 2020.
A $US300 million Series F round of funding in June 2017 valued AvidXchange at $US1.4 billion.
Cloudflare was last valued at $US1.8 billion in a 2015 funding round. In October, Reuters reported that the startup is preparing for an initial public offering, which could value the company at about $US3.5 billion.
CrowdStrike has hired Goldman Sachs to lead an IPO in early 2019, according to Reuters, and it’s aiming for a $US3 billion valuation.
DoorDash was valued at $US1.4 billion in a $US535 million funding round in March. Then in August, it nearly tripled its valuation to $US4 billion after getting another $US250 million in a Series E.
Grail, a biotech company that aims to detect cancer early, was last valued over $US3 billion in a $US300 million Series C in May. In February, Bloomberg reported that Grail plans to go public in Hong Kong.
Founded in 2001, Medallia is one of the oldest unicorn companies that could go public in 2019. The enterprise customer-experience-management platform is backed by Sequoia Capital. Its last funding round, a $US150 million Series E in 2015, valued the company at about $US1.25 billion.
The data-analytics firm Palantir Technologies has maintained an ethos of mystery, but that could change if it goes public in 2019 – or, as was previously reported, the more likely date of 2020. The company was last valued at $US20 billion in 2015.
Peloton Interactive, a company making tech-powered, indoor-bicycle exercise machines, was last valued at $US4.15 billion in an August venture-capital round.
The food-delivery platform Postmates was last valued at $US1 billion in a September Series E.
Rubicon Global is a sustainable-waste and recycling startup, described by some as the “Uber of trash.” The startup was last valued at $US1 billion in a May funding round.
Slack, a workplace-productivity platform that lets teams collaborate on a single messaging platform, was last valued at $US7.1 billion in a $US427 million Series H in August. The company is preparing to go public in the first half of 2019.
Uber, the ride-hailing service whose culture became notorious last summer, could go public with a whopping $US120 billion valuation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
WalkMe, a software company that helps users navigate web-based services, was valued at $US1 billion in a $US40 million funding round in September.