July 19, 2024
Ibotta’s IPO opens sharply higher, hinting at warming public-market interest in tech shares | TechCrunch

Ibotta began it’s path as a public company on Thursday by opening at $117 per share, a big increase from its IPO price of $88, itself an increase from its proposed range of $76 to $84 per share.

And this pop is despite boosting the size of its offering earlier in the week, with existing shareholders expanding their sale by just under one million shares.

Shares are not continuing to climb in early trading, but are holding steady above its IPO price, at around $100 at the time of writing.

The company left money on the table “for investors who are very bullish on it [expanding] its third-party platform beyond just Walmart,” which has become a key partner for Ibotta and represents much of its current revenue, said Nicholas Smith, a senior research analyst at pre-IPO research company Renaissance Capital. Given that its started trading far above its IPO price today, some critics may argue that it left too much money on the table, and could have raised more for itself.

Its successful debut marks the third major tech IPO in the United States this year, and is the third in a row to price well and immediately trade higher. It is also the first half of a pair of technology offerings that will list this month, with data management and security company Rubrik expected to list its own shares next week. The two companies follow Reddit and Astera Labs out of the private markets, after both the social media company and datacenter connectivity hardware play continue to trade above their IPO prices.

Investor eagerness for Ibotta indicates that “there is an increasing appetite for IPOs again” Smith said, “particularly in the tech space.”

Don’t pop the champagne yet for the tech IPO market coming roaring back, however. Ibotta pivoted to business sales over a direct-to-consumer model, which helped it reach profitability in recent periods. Classic tech IPOs tend to feature tech companies still in growth mode and deeply in the red.

Rubrik could be a better test of IPO appetite. Its products are in the data management and security worlds, and the company is deeply unprofitable and growing more slowly than Ibotta. That said, it does have a strong cloud revenue story to tell. If its debut goes well, we could see more yet-unprofitable unicorns try a shot at the public markets. 

Smith agrees, calling the upcoming Rubrik IPO “an even bigger test” for tech debuts “given its weaker current financial picture.”

We’ll find out next week.

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