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2017 Unicorn IPO Wish List

Editor’s Note: No more unicorn liquidity in 2016? There’s always next year.


It’s the first day of December, the last month of 2016, and just weeks until we can close the books on a year that I am sure you’d rather forget.

Politics aside, 2017 may be an incredibly important year for the ever-large group of private unicorns (technology companies worth at least $1 billion).

The capital fueling private unicorns demands an exit. And the scale of that capital, stretching into the dozens of billions of dollars, is sharp.

Ergo, exits. But not of the sort that you might imagine. It could be that M&A activity picks up, and we see a string of billion and more than billion dollar deals. It seems more likely that unicorns pursue an IPO. What parent company is going to let them continue to lose money as they have? (When in doubt, consult the Oracle-Ruth.)

Here’s a brief look at who may go public next year, and how we are scoring them heading into the end of the annum.

IPOs And Other Dreams

Today, we are thinking in probabilities. Snap, for example, is widely expected to go public in either the closing days of the first quarter or the earlier tracts of the second.

I’d give Snap a solid 50 percent chance of pulling it off, setting aside 25 percent chance for bad luck (such as unrelated market corrections), and 25 percent for self-forced errors (poor pricing, bad financials, odd growth story, etc).

Yesterday, I posited the following:


Happily, you are all smarter than me. Here’s what you sent in as possible IPOs:

I can’t allot this over a 50 percent chance, given how long the company has wanted to go public and how rough its implied operating margins are. Great product, however.

  • Slack (Late 2018, according to Alex Barredo.)

I can’t see any reason for Slack to go public next year, but the collaboration shop has done everything in its own fashion. 25 percent is the best I can do, and even that feels optimistic. (Not that Slack couldn’t go public, but it might just thumb its nose and keep building.)

Here I’d say 25 percent chance H2 2017, and there is a zero percent chance H1 2017. Uber isn’t ready to go public yet, and I doubt it will want to pull the trigger and file in September or so to facilitate an offering by the end of the year.

The last that I heard, Domo wasn’t doing massively well. Headlines like “Insiders tell us that Domo, the $2 billion startup that came out of nowhere, is full of hype” are what I know. We’ll give them 25 percent as a courtesy nod. Optimism, Spring, etc.

  • Qualtrics (Alan Christensen.)

Little-known Qualtrics is a great company. (Plug here of an interview of mine with the Qualtrics kids.) However, I have heard nothing regarding an impending S-1, so we’ll say 25 percent again.

I have less than no idea here. Send in notes on their revenue profile if you can.

What the hell? Zero percent.

25 percent seems low, 50 percent seems high. The company has been int the IPO mix for at least half of this year. Perhaps 2017 is the charm.

  • “[A]t least one of the Big Data plays seems likely, e.g. MongoDB, DataStax, Marklogic, Coudera, MapR[.]” (Scott Hirleman.)

25 percent seems fair for that group. I don’t have any particular insight into their financial health, but if there is more than one company in a group, surely one has a shot. Right?

I’ll write you up a drinking game for this soon enough. Should be a good year. Or a bad year. Luckily, both work for drinking games.

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© Mattermark 2024. Sources: Mattermark Research, Crunchbase, AngelList.