Twilio today said it would price its initial public offering at $15 per share, which would value the company at around $1.23 billion.
That would value Twilio above its previous $1 billion valuation from its last financing round. With the pricing, the company expects to raise around $150 million, with an option for another 1.5 million shares to be purchased. It’s also a higher price than the $12-$14 per share price that the company previously targeted.
Twilio’s IPO will be an important one given the drought of tech IPOs this year. Anxiety has gripped many startups that have hit unicorn status given the complete lack of tech IPOs for 2016 (Twilio will only be the third of the year). The hope, for many startups, is that Twilio will re-open the tech IPO window with a strong showing after trading begins tomorrow.
If that happens, it might convince investors that many startups that have hit frothy valuations have come back in line with reality, and these companies could be good investment targets if they choose to go public. Twilio is not profitable, with the company reporting a net loss of $35.5 million on $166.9 million in revenue last year. But it’s showing strong revenue growth, with the company bringing in $88.8 million in revenue from 2014.
Investors have been very careful about investing in growth companies given that valuations have either stalled out, or even declined, among startups that focused heavily on growth over profitability. We’ve seen a big shift in mentality among startups that are now facing the reality that they can’t simply burn venture capital funding and expect public markets to respect their endless focus on growth rather than making money.
For all intents and purposes, IPOs are about building a war chest in order to continue expanding and building new businesses. Twilio has built out a strong one with its developer tools, with other entire businesses being built on top of its infrastructure. But it’s also going to be at the whims of those businesses, and whether or not they decide to stick with Twilio. That’s a risk that investors are going to have to assess, as well, when they decide where to value Twilio once it goes public.
In total, Twilio has raised more than $200 million in venture financing, with Bessemer Venture Partners owning the largest chunk of the company at 28.5 percent per its last IPO filing. Twilio is expected to start trading tomorrow, and we’ll see whether or not the appetite for tech IPOs will be coming back with its performance.