Many startups are starting to put the materials together to go public, but that doesn’t mean the IPO market has warmed up to tech, says venture capitalist Sandy Miller of IVP.
For now, those companies are content watching from the sidelines, and very few have even taken the steps to confidentially file, he added.
If anything, he doesn’t expect the IPO window to open until Q3 at the very earliest.
“It’s really quiet right now. No one wants to wade in,” Miller said during a dinner with reporters on Tuesday.
More likely, companies will wait until Q4 or even 2017 before going public — and this is after a year when the first quarter saw no IPOs from a tech company whatsoever.
Why the chill? Simply put, there’s no need for many tech companies to go public now in the face of rocky market headwinds and a rollercoaster of an election that could introduce more uncertainty into the markets.
As a result, many will wait until post-election — or at least once it’s more clear who will win — to know how the markets will react, IVP partner Eric Liaw added.
While much of the focus has been on the billion-dollar “unicorn” companies, which have been grazing from buckets of cash for a while, Miller predicts that the industry is more likely to see smaller, profitable companies go public first. Companies like Yelp, OpenTable, and Zillow are examples of companies that went through a smaller offering, Liaw said.
Meanwhile, startups that are trying to raise money through venture capital instead of going public will find a different atmosphere than the last few years.
“It’s not a bad market, but nowhere near where it was in 2014 and 2015,” Miller said. “[Capital] is available, but it’s not cheap and easy.”