This past year has been the busiest for IPOs since the dot-com era. By the end of this week, the year-to-date count of U.S.-listed IPOs will reach 220, surpassing 217 and 213 IPOs listed in 2004 and 2007 respectively. But 2013’s number is still a good ways off from the totals reached in the late 90s and early 2000s – in 2000, 406 companies listed an IPO and 502 did so in 1996.
Regardless, 2013 offered investors a lot to be optimistic about, and that optimism is expected to carry into 2014, when experts estimate an upsurge in the number of tech companies going public. "The recent success of tech IPOs is showing a strong demand from the investing public for these companies," says Adley Bowden, director of analysis for PitchBook Data, a private equity and venture capital research firm. "The markets are also currently doing very well, so it's an attractive time to go public."
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the notable IPOs of 2013.
Rocket Fuel delivers global digital advertising and marketing solutions with a focus on artificial intelligence. The company went public on September 20 at a price of $29, snagging the catchy ticker symbol FUEL on the NASDAQ. Warmly received by investors, Rocket Fuel’s stock price was boosted to a close of $56 the day of its IPO introduction, indicating that the company may have left a large chunk of money on the table due to the low initial price of $29. As of December 10, the stock sits at $46.76.
Business intelligence software publisher Tableau Software went public on May 17, at a price of $31 and investors responded with their wallets, pushing up the price to a close of $50.75. Cofounded by Pat Hanrahan, a leader in the field of data sciences who won two Oscars for his work with Pixar, the Big Data visualization company has experienced consistent gains since its IPO, closing at $66.25 on December 10.
The most talked about IPO of 2013 drummed up more than just 140 characters of press. Twitter’s IPO, which was launched on November 7 at $26 and closing at $44.90, was harrowed for months by Facebook’s less-than-stellar IPO introduction, but has managed to stay above a close of $39 since its launch. "When people use Twitter they are following certain people, they're searching for specific information," said Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. "There are powerful marketing signals that are almost Google-esque, something that Facebook doesn't really have." The stock closed just under $52 on December 10.
Potbelly Sandwich Works
Potbelly was founded in 1977 in Chicago and has nearly 300 locations around the world today. With a focus on low-cost sandwiches and snacks, the restaurant chain has gained a loyal following of lunch enthusiasts, which made it a must-buy share for many investors. Priced at $14 a share, Potbelly closed its October 7 opening day at $33.77, a 120% increase. The stock took a hit, however, following the release of its Q3 profits, which slid 15% due to higher expenses. The stock closed at $26.90 on December 10.