Over the past few weeks, several tech giants have filed for public listings.
First, social media company Twitter announced that it will list on the New York Stock Exchange in an IPO estimated to value the company around US$15 billion.
Earlier last week, Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba went to New York, after the Hong Kong Stock Exchange rejected its public listing due to regulatory limitations. When Alibaba goes public, analysts believe the company could debut with a market cap of US$120 billion — matching the current market cap of Facebook and making it nearly four times as valuable as Yahoo!.
Over the weekend, yet another gaming giant announced its IPO as well. King.com, the London-based maker of Candy Crush Saga, has quietly filed an S-1 document with the Securities and Exchange Commission worth an estimated US$5 billion. Candy Crush has helped King reach nearly 250 million monthly active players, and generate a few million dollars in revenue everyday.
While companies from the United States and China are capable of filing for public listings, we have yet to see tech IPO as an exit strategy for companies in Singapore. Taking a closer look at the top IPOs in Southeast Asia, six out of the top seven IPOs are from Malaysia. For Singapore based Asiatravel, the company was publicly listed in 2001.
The highest market capitalization of these public listing is only a bit north of US$250 million. Which leads to the next question, will there ever be a billion dollar tech company from Singapore? Is public listing a plausible exit strategy for companies in Singapore? Which companies are capable of filing IPOs?
Three companies come to mind: PropertyGuru, RedMart as well as TradeHero.
Founded in Singapore, PropertyGuru is one of Asia’s leading property portal group which raised a strategic US$48 million in funding from Europe based ImmobilienScout24. The company is also rumoured to be considering a potential initial public offering–with Australia as a preferred listing market. With offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, PropertyGuru is currently serving 8.2 million users who view around 65 million property listings each month.
RedMart, on the other hand, recently raised a US$3.4 million series A funding led by gaming company Garene. The online grocer has a US$5 million run rate, and reported that its revenues has grown 70 percent quarter-on-quarter.
TradeHero, a mobile stock market simulation app also recently raised a US$10 million in series A funding from KPCB China and IPV Capital. The funding will be used to fuel its continued growth in Thailand and potentially expansion into China.
According to a report from global accountancy firm Ernst & Young, Singapore’s initial public offering (IPO) market became the second largest in the world by capital raised in the third quarter of this year, ranks behind only to US.
“Many of Singapore’s larger IPOs tend to be REITs and business trusts and are yield-focused, and this is really what has been driving to a large extent the Singapore IPO market,” said Philippe Espinasse, former investment banker and author of ‘IPO: A Global Guide’.
While there are a lot of IPO deals happening in Singapore, none of them are in the online sector. Even PropertyGuru is eyeing a public listing in Australia.
Which makes one wonder, is IPO a plausible exit strategy for Singapore startups?