2016 lagged in terms of tech IPOs. The following group of private companies, however, are potentially going to IPO this year. You know their names and their public offerings are bound to generate a lot of buzz, so read on to get ahead of the action. They are all valued in the billions.
To kick us off is Airbnb, an online marketplace and homestay network. It has been controversial with hoteliers and landlords in cities like Vancouver, where holidaymakers and renters prioritize the home-sharing site over traditional hotel stays and rental leases. The unicorn has only very recently reached profitability.
If you like the sound of Airbnb as a future investment opportunity, then look at Remark Media (NASDAQ:MARK). They have a diverse portfolio but their travel websites include the hotel booking app, roomlia, and Vegas.com, a booking site for Las Vegas. Over the last five days of trading their stock has gone up 0.31 percent. They have a market cap of $69.39 million.
Snap have signaled a shift from being an app company, towards becoming a camera company. Users are called Snapchatters. If investors bite, Snapchat’s partners, Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel, would become the youngest billionaires in the world. They will be listed on the NYSE and will probably be the first of this list to IPO, as soon as March.
If investors are eager for something in the same ballpark, then Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is the obvious choice. Indeed, there is a bit of a chicken and egg situation with Snapchat and Facebook. While some say Snapchat is the next Facebook, in that it is a social networking site for the younger generation, others point to Facebook being the next Snapchat. All its ‘innovations’ are remarkably similar to the latest Snapchat developments, such as its Instagram Stories, which has more than a whiff of Snapchat Stories.
Spotify is a digital music service, providing ad-free streaming for listeners, who can create personal playlists or explore those provided. The rumor mill has been active for years concerning Spotify’s IPO but this could be the year; apparently the second half of 2017 is the aim.
Another option is to invest in Destiny Media Technologies (TSX:DSY), a slightly different kind of sharing service. Their Play MPE solution is the leading service for promotional music distribution, for record labels to send songs to industry professionals. They are based in Vancouver and are up 36.36 percent so far this year. They have a market cap of $12.72 million.
Uber are a US online transportation network company that have disrupted the cab market. With a valuation of up to $68 billion, this unicorn leads the pack.
If Uber appeals, then right now you can invest in LOOPShare (TSXV:LOOP), a global provider of electric scooter shared fleet services and technology, based in Vancouver. They have a market cap of $5.64 million so are at the beginning of their business journey.
Those companies offering similar services, and already accessible to investors, are a great alternative to their huge contemporaries.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Emma Harwood, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.