Photo: Owen Thomas, Business Insider
2013 will be “meaningfully better” than last year was for initial public offerings, said George Lee, head of technology banking for Goldman Sachs.
Lee made the remark in an interview with Peter Burrows of Bloomberg Businessweek at Flurry Source13, a mobile-themed conference taking place Thursday in San Francisco.
Internet companies with a strong emphasis on mobile—so-called “mobile-first” or “mobile-only” players—could play a strong role in this next wave of public-market debuts, Lee said.
After Burrows pressed him for names, Lee suggested Uber, the on-demand transportation service where customers summon limos with a smartphone app, as an example of a company that could go public with a primarily mobile business. (Lee disclaimed any specfiic knowledge of Uber’s plans.)
The reason why we’ll see more IPOs, Lee said, is an improving economic environment—Goldman Sachs economists are projecting that the US economy will grow 2% in 2013 and 3% in 2014—and along with that, increasing CEO confidence.
CEO confidence, with a concomitant sense of “boldness” and willingness to pursue transactions, is the key to IPO activity, Lee said—since entrepreneurs must make a highly personal decision that they’re willing to take on the burdens of running a public company in exchange for pursuing their ambitions for growth and impact on the world.