Revisiting the Top 10 IPOs for 2014

Wall Street is still a big fan of IPOs. In many cases it’s a vicious circle of moneymaking that retail investors shouldn’t be left out of. 


Last year, 75% of IPOs finished up by year’s end. That includes all IPOs, and not just the “hottest” ones. 

That statistic is even more mind boggling when you just focus on the hottest IPOs. Some of the highest-profile IPOs so far this year have dwarfed the returns of the overall market. 

Back in April we covered the top 10 upcoming IPOs for 2014. Let’s do a quick recap. 

Revisiting the Top IPOs of 2014

Alibaba Group Holding (NYSE: BABA) is up nearly 30% since it went public to much fanfare a month ago. Labeled the Chinese (NASDAQ: AMZN), Alibaba’s IPO was the largest in history.

Activist investor Starboard thinks that the market is undervaluing Yahoo’s stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. But it remains to be seen what major owners of Alibaba, Softbank and Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), have planned for the massive profits they made in the Alibaba IPO.

Another IPO we featured earlier this year, TrueCar (NASDAQ: TRUE), is up 120% since its May IPO. We noted that TrueCar was more of a tech company than a car dealer. Regardless, it has still benefited from the strengthening auto industry. 

But not all stocks made it to market.

Box had filed for an IPO in early 2014, but it decided to delay its IPO until 2015 given the market volatility. And top peer Dropbox was rumored to be one of the top tech IPOs of 2014. But with the likes of Amazon, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) all active in the cloud storage business, it has been increasingly difficult to get an IPO done in the cloud space. 

Technology changes quickly. Square was a leader in the mobile payments space, but now Apple has launched Apple Pay and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) is spinning off PayPal. This puts more pressure on Square, which was founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.  What’s more is that Square raised another round of financing just this month, which should delay its IPO until 2015. 

The talk of a Spotify IPO has also grown quiet of late. This comes as top rival Pandora (NYSE: P) is down 15% over the last three months and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) spent $3 billion for Beats Electronics — which strengthens its music-streaming offering. However, the one bright spot is that Spotify generates the majority of its revenues from music subscriptions, while Pandora relies on advertising.  

Airbnb has been trying to set itself up for an IPO for some time now. The company has been spending a lot of money on public relations to sort out an issue regarding hotel taxes. And although shares of its top competitor HomeAway (NASDAQ: AWAY) are down 33% from its 52-week high, Airbnb might still be pushing its way toward an IPO. Last month its CFO left, which is a sign that it could be looking to set up its management team for an IPO. 

Meanwhile, the likelihood of J. Crew getting an IPO done this year, or even next year, is dwindling. The past few quarters have been tough for the company, which is a reflection of the slowing apparel industry. 

There are a couple other companies we featured that aren’t quite there yet, but getting very close. 

Virgin America filed for an IPO in July. Virgin’s IPO speculation has been in the news since 2007.

GoDaddy is another one that’s getting close. It filed its IPO papers in August, which showed that the company is making headway in terms of preserving current customers versus relying on new signups. 

Meanwhile, some of the biggest IPOs so far this year weren’t on our list. 

GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) and Zendesk (NYSE: ZEN) are both up over 135% since debuting. Meanwhile, two restaurant chains – El Pollo LoCo (NASDAQ: LOCO) and Zoe’s Kitchen (NYSE: ZOES) – are both up over 130% since their IPO.

And 2015 is shaping up to be another interesting year for the IPO market. 

Investors should keep an eye out for Lending Club, which is the largest peer-to-peer lending platform in the market. It could even debut before the end of 2014. Esty is another interesting company that’s a key player in the e-commerce market and could be a formidable foe for the likes of eBay. 

The geo-marketing company Yext just recently hired a new CFO as it gears up for a 2015 IPO. And Sprinklr, the social media management company, has already been gearing up for an IPO next year. 

A couple potential long shots for 2015 could be the likes of Hulu and FourSquare. Hulu is owned by heavy hitters Disney (NYSE: DIS) and 21st Century Fox (NYSE: FOXA), and these companies could be looking to capitalize on the bustling streaming video market. Meanwhile, FourSquare is focusing on being a local discovery app after spinning off its check-in feature into a new app called Swarm.  

The IPO market will have the occasional loser, such as King Digital Entertainment (NASDAQ: KING), which has tumbled 50% since its March IPO. But overall, those “hot” IPOs are still highly coveted by investors. Making money in IPOs seems to get easier and easier every year. Let’s hope that continues to be the case in 2015.

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