initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The next wave of potentially hot IPOs

SAN FRANCISCO – Just as one high-tech breakthrough often paves the way for the next big thing, initial public offerings in the tech world sometimes follow the same pattern.

Twitter’s scintillating stock market debut punctuated a procession of highly anticipated coming-out parties during the past 2 1/2 years, providing a springboard for a new generation of rapidly growing startups to make the leap to Wall Street.

The next wave of potentially hot IPOs includes Airbnb, Square, Spotify, Dropbox, Uber, Snapchat, Pinterest, Box, Scribd, Flipboard and Most of their services are tailor-made for smartphones and tablets, a crucial characteristic that helped feed the rabid demand for Twitter’s stock in its initial public offering this month.

Despite Twitter’s unprofitable history, the company is now worth about $29 billion – a valuation that has enriched its founders, employees and early investors.

The message service’s successful IPO even proved that it’s irrelevant whether companies are profitable, he says.

“Twitter just made it clear that the IPO window is open, and a lot of success can be had,” says Ira Rosner, an attorney and shareholder for Greenberg Traurig, a law firm that helps prepare companies for IPOs.

“There is no question that a successful offering encourages other offerings,” he says. “It gets people excited, and it creates buzz.”

Even before Twitter’s IPO, good vibes were rippling through the stock market as the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes repeatedly set new highs. The fertile conditions have produced 199 IPOs in the U.S. this year, according to the research firm Renaissance Capital.

At the current pace, 2013 is on track to be the biggest year for IPOs in a decade.

The string of IPOs that helped fuel investors’ interest in rapidly growing Internet companies began with the May 2011 debut of professional network LinkedIn Corp.

Other online services that followed LinkedIn into the stock market include online review site Yelp, Internet radio station Pandora Media, daily deal-maker Groupon, online game-maker Zynga and Facebook.

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