Editor's note: this article incorrectly said Zynga's market cap as $2.9 million. It's been fixed to $2.9 billion
We've been hearing rumors about King (previously King.com) filing for an IPO for some time, but now it's been reported that that the Sweden-founded creator of the addictive Candy Crush Saga has quietly filed for an IPO in the U.S. The Firm is now headquartered in the UK, and is said to be valued around $5 billion. To put that in some comparison, Zynga, another company that built Facebook games but had a rougher transition to mobile Free to Play games, has about half as many users and a market capitalization of about $2.9 billion.
The company has until today received $47 million from Apax Partners and Index Ventures. On their about page, they count more than 30 billion games played monthly. In June, they counted 92 million daily active users.
Anywayanyday.com, a popular Russian online retailer of air tickets, has mandated Merrill Lynch to secure a $40 million round of financing, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources.
The new round of financing will allow Anywayanyday to accelerate its development, particularly in foreign markets. The site, which offers an interface in English and German as well as in Russian, has opened a representative office in Germany, Kommersant notes.
There was clearly demand for a new technology company to go public on NYSE, as Trulia's stocks jumped over 40% on the first day of trading. Pete Flint and Sami Inkinen, co-founders of the company, together with their entourage was present at the event. Accel Partners was also keen on celebrating the success as they still hold on to 19% of the company while not selling any shares in the IPO.
We seldom get to write these kinds of stories, but what a day it was. The stock opened already north of the issuance price of $17 at about $22. It later continued the climb to peak at $25.20 and closed the day at $24.00 totaling a 41.18% increase.
After the IPO, Forbes writes that the company will have 26.4 million shares outstanding, which will give the company a market cap of around $449 million (€345 million). If you're interested, many more of the significant figures can be found summarized in the Forbes article, or by reading the S-1 filing. Trulia will trade under the symbol TRLA.
Zendesk has raised $60 million (€46.4m) in financing led by Redpoint Ventures, and is joined by Index Ventures, GGV Capital, Goldman Sachs, Silicon Valley Bank, Charles River Ventures, Benchmark Capital and Matrix Parnters. In an interview with TechCrunch, CEO Mikkel Svane said the new round will be used for continuing international expansion and preparing the company for an IPO.
The Danish company calls itself is "the epicenter of a customer service revolution," with more than 15,000 organizations worldwide using Zendesk to support customer relationships. Notable tech customers include Hulu, Yammer, Tumblr, and Groupon.
We just caught news that U.S.-based real estate listing service Trulia has quietly filed for a $75 Million IPO in July. Reuters reported that the company filed for an IPO taking advantage of a JOBS Act provision that allows companies to file behind closed doors.
Morgan Stanley has been mandated by Superjob.ru, a leading online recruitment platform with 3.2 million unique users monthly, to find a potential acquirer of a minority stake, Russian business daily Kommersant reported yesterday. “We would offer a minority stake to a partner whose good name on the NASDAQ could help us go public successfully,” Kommersant quoted Superjob CEO Alexey Zakharov as saying.
Superjob is a profitable company and has thus far never needed investor money, Zakharov underlined. In an IPO, the founders will sell only a “minimum” quantity of shares.
24MAS, the Swedish mobile technology company setup in 2001, is looking to IPO in the US during the second quarter of 2013. The company has three major business areas; mobile marketing and advertising, application development & publishing and managed services & solutions. The company has offices in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe and North America. The company works with over 200 operators, handset manufacturers and technology companies around the world. While being spread out, the company employs only 148 people in ten offices around the world.
As for the IPO, there were no specific figures released yet.
Rovio's Chief Marketing Officer, also known as the Mighty Eagle, has come out with figures regarding Rovio's financials in an interview by Tekniikka & Talous, a Finnish newspaper. In the interview, he also said Rovio is looking to IPO in Hong Kong in 2013. In 2010 Rovio's revenue was around $10 million. This year the company expects its turnover to be around $100 million.
Bloomberg is reporting today that Rovio has announced it is preparing for an IPO in 2012. “We’re not ready to file for an IPO tomorrow. Maybe a year from now.” Peter Vesterbacka, the Mighty Eagle of the company said on Bloomberg TV. He also went on to state that the company is insanely profitable. The valuation of the company is more than a billion dollars, sources close to Bloomberg state.
Kristian Segerstrale, the former CEO of Playfish, a social gaming company before it was sold to Electronic Arts for $300 million back in 2009. Today he leads the Playfish team in EA and invests through some smaller funds, like that of Lifeline Ventures here in Finland. Playfish wasn't Segerstrale's first startup. Before Playfish he sucessfully build up Macrospace that since then changed to Glu Mobile and went onto IPO into Nasdaq. Segerstrale was on stage yesterday at the Summer of Startups demo day event. He was energetic, inspiring yet very easy to approach - everything you'd expect from a man of such success and experience.
Last week saw both Pandora and Groupon file their S-1 documents, meaning they are now on track for an IPO. While many have anticipated IPOs in the tech industry, I believe I'm right in saying that they still managed to surprise many in doing so. Pandora is looking to raise $142 million and Groupon is officially looking for $750 million, but WSJ reports that the company might be looking for as much as $1 billion.
We have been speculating over Yandex's potential IPO ever since Mail.ru filed for theirs last autumn. Those predictions seem to be coming true: Yandex plans $1 billion IPO on NASDAQ June-July this year, reports Vedomosti (tipped by Quintura). The company has already hired Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank to manage the process. No other details were revealed about the news. Yandex controls 65% of all search engine traffic in Runet and this January the company reported a 43% increase in their revenue. That puts Yandex's annual revenue for 2010 at $410M (88% came from contextual advertising).
If you have ever ordered something online or had to send a package, you know how time-consuming a trip to a post office is. Restricted working hours, queues and loads of hassle. An Estonian start-up Cleveron (former SmartPost) set out to change that by launching a network of automated parcel terminals all across Estonia. The terminals consist of a series of lockers: when you receive a parcel you get a text message with the location of the terminal and a unique code to access the locker. Since terminals are often located in shopping centres with long opening hours, you are free to pick up your package at any suitable time. The system works in a similar way if you want to send a package. Cleveron has been operating in Estonia since 2009 but last year the network with it's brand name SmartPost was sold to Finnish Post (Itella Corporation). Cleveron's team kept all the know-how and are expanding their services to Russia, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Russia's biggest search engine Yandex is planning to file for a $1,5 billion IPO early 2011. The company will most likely choose London Stock Exchange for its listings, though New York's Nasdaq was also mentioned as an alternative.Yandex was planning to file for an IPO already in 2008 but world financial crisis got in the way and plans for an IPO were postponed. Sources close to the company shared that Yandex was valued at maximum $3M back then. The company was founded in 1997 and is today 7th biggest search engine in the world by the number of processed queries. More than 61% of the company belongs to investment funds like ru-Net Holdings, Baring Vostok Capital Partners and Tiger Technologies, 24% is owned by the company's managers and other stuff, 10% belongs to private investors and 5% to holders of stock options.
When it comes to technology and start-ups Russia can be full of mystery and surprises. First we learned this summer about an attractive Russian spy - Anna Chapman - infiltrating entrepreneurial scene in New York. Now there is a a serial entrepreneur who hides behind a fake indentity while his latest start-up is preparing for an IPO. It's the second story that is of interest here. The entrepreneur in question, who prefers to call himself Andrey Andreev (though some sources claim his real surname is Andrey Ogandzhanyants [Андрей Оганджанянц]) founded four tech start-ups since 1999, his latest one - a dating service named Badoo - is preparing to file for an IPO on London Stock Exchange. The service has about 80 million registered users and company's revenue is estimated to reach $200 million this year. Why is it that Andreev is hiding from the limelight and using a false name?
According to Reuters and its sources, Skype IPO will take place in 2011. Skype is still assessing a number of factors before making the decision to go ahead with the IPO. Last month, Skype named Tony Bates, a former Cisco executive its CEO. Bates is expected to make the decision on the IPO once he gets more acquainted with the staff and the products.
Mail.ru, former Digital Sky Technologies from Russia, is filing for an IPO in the London Stock Exchange. The company has received quite a bit of publicity in the recent years as it has invested into some high flying internet properties including Facebook and Zynga. Reuters reports that sources close to the deal say the IPO has been oversubscribed with more than two weeks left before pricing.
Daniel Blomquist of Creandum, a Swedish early stage venture capital company, has posted an excellent post to their blog analysing the differences between the Nordic countries to other countries as well as analysing the differences within themselves. In essence, Daniel goes on to confirm what Will Cardwell said some time ago.
Creandum has gathered a lot of knowledge about the Nordic venture capital market over the last two years to understand the ecosystem better and thus be able to work in it better. They now share some of this knowledge with us. Their main findings from the report were:
Today, Kauppalehti wrote that the Finnish computer electronics store founder and owner Samuli Seppälä is going to take the company public in a few years time. He's doing this with the help of the Swedish private investment company Rite Internet Ventures who have invested 3 million euros to the company with a 15% stake. This brings the company's valuation to a mere 20 million euros. Why do I say a mere 20 million euros, you might ask. The reason is simple, the company's 2008 turnover was about 140 million euros with 2,4 million euro profit before taxes and amortisation.
The Swedish travel startup Traveas is going public - it will be listed on AktieTorget, the stock exchange for developing companies. They will be offering Traveas stock for the public between 7th of May and 25th of May. Trading with Traveas stock will begin on 26th of June. Traveas pre-money valuation is at 17,5M SEK (1,65M €)
We had a brief chat with Jack Melcher-Claësson, co-founder of Traveas about the listing. Jack told us that there are basically two factors in why this new stock emission is interesting. Firstly, as we told in the title Traveas will become a public company. Secondly, the reason for them gathering up money is the need to be able to run faster in the European market. Their press release tell us that they are looking for an investment around 3,5 M SEK (330k€).
Ebay just announced a plan for 2010 IPO of Skype. A lot can be said about the journey of the two companies so far, but we think it's hight time for the relationship to end - For Skype's and and for Ebay's benefit. By not letting the Skype founders buy back the company, Ebay is sending a message of it's own, but an Initial Public Offering pushed all the way to 2010 means practically nothing but that Ebay is not happy with Skype's performance so far and that they are taking bids.
By pushing the date that far into the future and annoucing that "specific timing of the IPO will be based on market conditions" the company is effectively saying that anything can happen between now and then. They might not even let Skype go if it starts to perform or if it becomes a real strategic asset, which it hardly will.
The message to take away from this is that now even Ebay has confessed that there are no synergies between the two companies and that they made a bad investment -Ebay thought it would be an ideal way for buyers and sellers to talk to each other before the seller makes the purchase decision. All well, except that naturally the sellers don't want to talk to all the buyers and answer all questions about the product. Skype is not a bad investment per se, but a bad investment for Ebay. I believe Skype will have a bright future ahead with eight percent of all international calls and $551 million in revenue, but I would not hold my breath to see an IPO even in 2010. Much can happen before that.
You can read more about the announcement from the press release.
While we cover the startup market, we do keep an eye on the investors as well and this is a story from the East that needs to be told. Renaissance Capital, a leading Russian investment bank, will be the sole underwriter of the $460 million FriendFinder IPO in the United States.
FriendFinder is the parent company of the notorious AdultFriendFinder ads that can be found all over the internet. Penthouse is also one of the products of the company and has one previous failed IPO attempt behind it from 1993. The company is in good health as it's net revenues for the first nine months of 2008 were $262.4 million, resulting in operating income of $36.1 million and EBITDA of $66.6 million.
Renaissance Capital, head quartered in Cyprus (like many Russian companies), has been relatively active in the startup scene lately. They were the one of the underwriters of the Yandex IPO, which was later postponed due to market conditions.
Furthermore in the internet sector, Renaissance Capital was an advisor in the sale of 30 percent of Mail.ru stock for $165 million to Naspers of South Africa in January 2007. Mail.ru is the one of the largest internet portals in Russia. Renaissance Capital also played an advisory role in the 55% acquisition of Rambler by Prof-Media in October 2006.
Kauppalehti, a Finnish business daily, reported yesterday that Sulake's CEO, Timo Soininen, is planning to take the company public. According to Mr. Soininen the earlierst possible date for the listing would be sometime next year.
Soininen thinks Sulake starts to be big enough for an IPO. Soininen's comments takes place after Sulake was valued 9th in Alley Insider valuation (at 25 times revenues) for digital startups. Read more on the story here.
Soinen added that Sulake is profitable and aims to a 20 percent increase in turnover this year. Last year's turnover was 43 million euro.
Despite the Alley Insider estimation Soininen himself refuses to comment on his company's valuation.