Unemployment is up and continuing to rise, the recession, while possibly, maybe, sort of technically over, does not feel over at all, and while Murdoch says “things are better” in the advertising economy, “better” means “no longer totally crap.”
So why on earth would I write a headline like the one adorning this post?
Because despite all that bad news, there’s a fair amount of good news in the web space. A number of healthy private companies are doing quite well, and seem poised to become serious IPO candidates. Among them:
Facebook. The company said it’s now cash flow positive and has been profitable for several quarters. This is the final step toward a public bow, one that could possibly stimulate a wee bit of Googly optimism, just as Google did during the mini-boom of 2004-07.
Demand. According to all accounts, this company has been profitable for several years, is growing nicely, and has revenues well over nine figures. Its search/content/social media mashup model is unique and growing.
Linked In. With a new CEO (Jeff Weiner) who would not have joined had there not been a promise of a large exit, multiple revenue sources, and a strong community, Linked In is another late stage company in the Big IPO queue.
Three companies does not a trend make, but I am sure there are others, and there are even more companies that are one to two years out (like Twitter, for example). It doesn’t take that much to get a trend going in these markets. Unlike the bubble of ten years ago (wow, has it been that long), these companies all have profits, histories, and strong operating plans. And the markets have been on a tear, there is plenty of money on the sidelines, and folks are looking for a place to take a little risk after a year of hiding in treasuries and triple A-rated muni bonds.
In short, I think the IPO market is back on the table, and I would not be surprised to see it start to take off in the next several quarters.
Who did I miss, and what companies do you think might be ready to go soon?