Instacart’s desire to go public this year is now a little better understood after The Wall Street Journal reported that the grocery delivery giant isn’t planning a mega-fundraiser when it does.
While the mechanics of a company’s public debut have little variation — direct listings and traditional IPOs both result in a new public company, after all — Instacart’s blueprints provide us with some useful pointers. on its recent financial history.
That Instacart went public this year is a small miracle; the US market for new technology announcements has been moribund for quarters. The sluggish IPO market is a marked change from the active 2020-2021 period which saw a good number of startups and unicorns – private market companies worth $1 billion or more – list when investors had offered the value of tech stocks to new highs.
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Prices have since fallen, sometimes sharply from pandemic-induced highs. Most tech startups withhold public listings in response, presumably concerned about the adequacy of final private market valuations in an IPO or other form of IPO.