July 23, 2024
Counting down to the Reddit IPO (again)

Reddit could finally go public this year.

On the heels of Circle’s IPO filing and news from a major exchange that a host of companies are preparing to go public this year, Reuters reports that Reddit has “detailed plans” to go public in March.

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Now, before the rumor mill gets going, let’s make one thing clear: Reddit going public in the first quarter is not going to throw the IPO window wide open for other tech companies waiting to exit. Most unicorns in the market today build products for other businesses, while Reddit is a more consumer-focused business that makes money from advertising and subscriptions. Still, if Reddit manages to pull off a strong IPO, it would help make going public palatable for companies of all sorts. An IPO at this time could stand to have a bigger impact if this were a B2B-focused company, but you can’t always get what you want.

We may have a number of potentially big IPOs in the queue today. Besides Reddit and Circle, huge companies like Shein are also reportedly busy getting their S-1 and F-1 ducks in a row. They represent a possible vanguard, but in reality, they don’t make up even a fraction of the number of companies that need to go public.

Cowboy Ventures’ founder Aileen Lee wrote a long-awaited follow-up to her original 2013 article in which she coined the term “unicorn.” The new article is illuminating on many fronts, but one line stuck with me: Of the 532 unicorns that Lee and Cowboy Ventures count in the U.S. today, there have been very few exits, with only 7% (35 companies) going public compared to 66% a decade ago.

That means we have hundreds of unicorns in the U.S. that need to go public. The backlog is so long it would take years to clear (and we’re not even counting the hundreds of unicorns across the world). The sooner the IPO window can open, the better.

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