<strong>Globoforce</strong>, employee social recognition software. <strike><strong>IPO guess</strong>: Today. Public shares expected to trade tomorrow.</strike> Globoforce has quietly grown into a large business, with revenue approaching $200 million last year. (Pictured: chief executive Eric Mosley) <em><b>UPDATE:</b> <a href="http://betaboston.com/news/2014/03/21/globoforce-ipo-postponed-boston-tech/">Globoforce announced it was canceling its planned IPO at the last minute</a>.</em>
<strong>Wayfair</strong>, home goods e-commerce site. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: This spring. Company has reportedly lined up banks for the offering. Recently raised $157 million in pre-IPO funding and saw sales above $900 million last year. Probably Boston tech’s best candidate for an “anchor” company. (Pictured from left are chief exec Niraj Shah and CTO Steven Conine, who are co-founders of the company) Read more: <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/03/08/wayfair-shows-more-momentum-amid-ipo-talk/xmdYyS77HWYpXBZxBQw0LI/story.html" target="_blank">Wayfair shows more momentum amid IPO talk</a>
<strong>HubSpot</strong>, software for inbound marketing and website personalization. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: mid-year or later. Also lining up banks, and says revenue last year reached $77.6 million. (Pictured from left are CTO Dharmesh Shah and chief exec Brian Halligan, who are co-founders of the company) Read more: <a href="http://betaboston.com/news/2014/02/27/hubspot-closer-to-ipo/" target="_blank">HubSpot moves closer to IPO</a>
<strong>Actifio</strong>, software for managing and reducing data copies. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: Early 2015. Chief exec Ash Ashutosh (pictured) told me recently that rapid growth has continued (the firm’s investor at Andreessen Horowitz <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/startups/2013/02/actifio-ipo-andreessen-horowitz.html" target="_blank">previously</a> called Actifio one of the fastest growing storage companies ever). Ashutosh also told me going public remains the goal. Read more: <a href="http://betaboston.com/news/2014/03/24/actifio-funding-ipo-valuation-billion-dollar-boston-tech" target="_blank">Actifio raises $100 million, valuing company at $1 billion</a>
<strong>Acquia</strong>, cloud hosting for content management system Drupal. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: Early 2015. <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/techflash/2013/12/acquias-dries-buytaert-not.html?page=all" target="_blank">No hurry</a> to go public, but revenue growth (to nearly $70 million last year) already suggests IPO readiness (pictured from left: chief executive Tom Erickson and co-founder/CTO Dries Buytaert).
<strong>Veracode</strong>, software for finding vulnerabilities in application code. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: Early 2015. Chief exec Bob Brennan (pictured) <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/techflash/2014/02/veracode-moves-closer-to-ipo.html?page=all" target="_blank">told me</a> last month that an IPO is likely “in the next year or so,” after revenue reached between $45 million and $55 million in 2013.
<strong>DataXu</strong>, technology to automate and improve digital ad buys. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: 2015. No rush to IPO but probably could go public any time; “hundreds of millions (in annual revenue) is what’s next for us,” says chief executive Mike Baker (pictured). Read more: <a href="http://betaboston.com/news/2014/03/19/dataxu-sees-revenue-surge-above-100-million-but-in-no-rush-for-ipo" target="_blank">DataXu sees revenue surge above $100 million but in no rush for IPO</a>
<strong>Bit9</strong>, software for blocking cybersecurity threats. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: 2015. VC backer Atlas Venture has pointed to the company as an IPO candidate for the not-too-distant future, and Bit9 made a big move last month — raising $38 million and acquiring a security startup to expand its business (Pictured: chief executive Patrick Morley).
<strong>Extreme Reach</strong>, cloud software for transmitting video ads across various platforms. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: Mid-2015. Chief exec John Roland (pictured) told me previously that the company would consider an IPO about 12 to 18 months after closing its $485 million acquisition of a competitor's TV business. That deal closed last month.
<strong>UTest</strong>, crowdsourced app testing service and quality assurance software for app stores. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: Early 2016. Chief executive Doron Reuveni (pictured) tells me the company, which is changing its name to Applause in April, expects to go public “in a couple years, maybe sooner.” To help propel the firm to that event it raised $43 million in January from led by Goldman Sachs.
<strong>SimpliVity</strong>, technology to simplify management of data centers. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: 2016. Chief exec Doron Kempel (pictured) previously told me that going public is the goal for some time after this year. The firm is fairly new the market, having been commercial for only about a year now, but reports rapid growth and has already raised more than $100 million in funding (including $58 million in November).
<strong>Dyn</strong>, service for ensuring website uptime and email delivery. <strong>IPO guess</strong>: 2016. Beyond saying it considers itself an IPO candidate, Dyn isn't giving hints around possible timing. However revenue appears to have been growing at a rapid clip (the firm did $15 million in bookings in the third quarter of last year, for instance), after seeing $27.6 million of revenue overall in 2012.* Yes, it’s a bit of an apples-to-orange comparison, but I think it does still point to the growth going on (Pictured: chief executive Jeremy Hitchcock). * Dyn says the initial revenue figure disclosed for 2012 (and initially included in this post) was the pre-audited revenue number; the company says $27.6 million is the official figure.
Boston tech may have gone more than a year-and-a-half in between its last two venture-backed tech IPOs (i.e. Exa Corp. and Care.com, which went public in January). But the region’s tech community shouldn’t have to wait that long again any time soon.
Click through the slideshow above to see my picks for a dozen of the most promising tech IPO candidates in the Boston area, along with my (educated) guesses on timing for the potential public offerings. Executives from all of the companies have expressed an interest in an IPO to me, and each firm appears to have the makings of an IPO candidate (strong revenue growth, original product offering, large market size).
Globoforce is the most sure bet (it’s expected to complete its IPO today), and there’s been plenty of discussion about how Wayfair and HubSpot are believed to be next. You may have heard less about the rest of the names on the list, however.
One disclaimer: I realize that some or even most of these companies may not actually go public. IPO candidates are often hotly pursued by big tech acquirers; the same factors that make them a possibility for the public markets also make them a target for acquisition. Endeca and Aveksa are two recent Boston examples where a handsome acquisition price ended up trouncing IPO ambitions.
Nonetheless, even a few of these companies going public would be a big deal. It could spell a new era for Boston tech, which has long seen its many of its most promising tech startups bought out by West Coast giants, often ending their growth sprees.
Anchor companies, away.
(All images courtesy of the companies.)
Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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