Grading the final tech IPOs of 2019

As the holiday slowdown looms, the final U.S.-listed technology IPOs have come in and begun to trade.

Three tech, tech-ish or venture-backed companies went public this week: Bill.com, Sprout Social and EHang. Let’s quickly review how each has performed thus far. These are, bear in mind, the last IPOs of the year that we care about, pending something incredible happening. 2020 will bring all sorts of fun, but, for this time ’round the sun, we’re done.

Pricing

Our three companies managed to each price differently. So, we have some variety to discuss. Here’s how each managed during their IPO run:

How do those results stack up against their final private valuations? Doing the best we can, here’s how they compare:

So EHang priced low and its IPO is hard to vet, as we’re guessing at its final private worth. We’ll give it a passing grade. Sprout Social priced mid-range, and managed a slight valuation bump. We can give that a B, or B+. Bill.com managed to price above its raised range, boosting its valuation sharply in the process. That’s worth an A.

Performance

Trading just wrapped, so how have our companies performed thus far in their nascent lives as public companies? Here’s the scorecard:

  • EHang’s Friday closing price: $12.90 (+3.2%)
  • Sprout Social’s Friday closing price: $16.60 (-2.35%)
  • Bill.com’s Friday closing price: $38.83 (+76.5%)

You can gist out the grades somewhat easily here, with one caveat. The Bill.com IPO’s massive early success has caused the usual complaints that the firm was underpriced by its bankers, and was thus robbed to some degree. This argument makes the assumption that the public market’s initial pricing of the company once it began trading is reasonable (maybe!) and that the company in question could have captured most or all of that value (maybe!).

Bill.com’s CEO’s reaction to the matter puts a new spin on it, but you should at least know that the week’s most successful IPO has attracted criticism for being too successful. So forget any chance of an A+.

Image via Getty Images / Somyot Techapuwapat / EyeEm

Consumer sous vide startup Nomiku is winding down operations

Founded in 2012, Nomiku became a plucky Silicon Valley darling by bringing affordable sous vide cooking to home kitchens. A Kickstarter project that same year generated $750,000, several times its $200,000 goal. The company scored a glowing TechCrunch profile the following year, as well, thanks in part to a great backstory.

Today, however, the company noted on its site and various social media channels that it is winding down operations:

Well, I am sorry to say that we have reached the end of the road. It is with a heavy heart (and deep-felt gratitude for your patronage) that we are writing to let you know that we are discontinuing the Nomiku Smart Cooker and Nomiku Meals effective immediately, and suspending operations. While we still believe in the concept, we simply were not able to get to a place of sustainability to keep the business going. Thank you very much for your support, it has meant a lot to myself and everyone here at Nomiku.

“The total climate for food tech is different than it used to be,” Lisa Fetterman said in a call to TechCrunch. “There was a time when food tech and hardware were much more hot and viable. I think a company can survive a few hurdles, and a few challenges [ …] For me, it was the perfect storm of all these things.”

In total, the company raised more than $1.3 million over two Kickstarter campaigns, putting it in the upper echelons of food crowdfunding. In 2015, the startup joined Y Combinator and launched a cooking app called Tender, featuring recipes from prominent chefs.

In some ways, Nomiku appears to be a victim of its own popularity. The company was able to bring a cost-prohibitive cooking technology down to an affordable price point, only to see the market flooded by competitors. Fetterman highlighted some of those issues in a recent Extra Crunch interview.

In 2017, Samsung Ventures invested in the company, with plans to integrate it into its SmartThings connected platform. That same year, Nomiku began to pivot into subscription meal plans, but had difficulty getting the word out. Fetterman says the company was seeking funding toward the end, but ultimately couldn’t make things work.

Even with a buzzy company and a great product, the startup world can still be unforgiving. 

Adobe turns it up to 11, surpassing $11B in revenue

Yesterday, Adobe submitted its quarterly earnings report — and the results were quite good. The company generated a tad under $3 billion for the quarter, at $2.99 billion, and reported that revenue exceeded $11 billion for FY 2019, its highest-ever mark.

“Fiscal 2019 was a phenomenal year for Adobe as we exceeded $11 billion in revenue, a significant milestone for the company. Our record revenue and EPS performance in 2019 makes us one of the largest, most diversified, and profitable software companies in the world. Total Adobe revenue was $11.17 billion in FY 2019, which represents 24% annual growth,” Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen told analysts and reporters in his company’s post-earnings call.

Adobe made a couple of key M&A moves this year that appear to be paying off, including nabbing Magento in May for $1.7 billion and Marketo in September for $4.75 billion. Both companies fit inside its “Digital Experience” revenue bucket. In its most recent quarter, Adobe’s Digital Experience segment generated $859 million in revenue, compared with $821 million in the sequentially previous quarter.

Obviously buying two significant companies this year helped push those numbers, something CFO John Murphy acknowledged in the call:

Key Q4 highlights include strong year-over-year growth in our Content and Commerce solutions led by Adobe Experience Manager and success with cross-selling and up-selling Magento; Adoption of Adobe Experience Platform, Audience Manager and Real-Time CDP in our Data & Insights solutions; and momentum in our Marketo business, including in the mid-market segment, which helped fuel growth in our Customer Journey Management solutions.

All of that added up to growth across the Digital Experience category.

But Adobe didn’t simply buy its way to new market share. The company also continued to build a suite of products in-house to help grow new revenue from the enterprise side of its business.

“We’re rapidly evolving our CXM product strategy to deliver generational technology platforms, launch innovative new services and introduce enhancements to our market-leading applications. Adobe Experience Platform is the industry’s first purpose-built CXM platform. With real-time customer profiles, continuous intelligence and an open and extensible architecture, Adobe Experience Platform makes delivering personalized customer experiences at scale a reality,” Narayan said.

Of course, the enterprise is just part of it. Adobe’s creative tools remain its bread and butter, with the creative tools accounting for $1.74 billion in revenue and Document Cloud adding another $339 million this quarter.

The company is talking confidently about 2020, as its recent acquisitions mature and become a bigger part of the company’s digital experience offerings. But Narayan feels good about the performance this year in digital experience: “When I take a step back and look at what’s happened during the year, I feel really good about the amount of innovation that’s happening. And the second thing I feel really good about is the alignment across Magento, Marketo and just call it the core DX business in terms of having a more unified and aligned go-to-market, which has not only helped our results, but it’s also helped the operating expense associated with that business,” he said.

It is no small feat for any software company to surpass $11 billion in trailing revenue. Consider that Adobe, which was founded in 1982, goes back to the earliest days of desktop PC software in the 1980s. Yet it has managed to transform into a massive cloud services company over the last five years under Narayan’s leadership.

The newest members of the $100M ARR club

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the grey space in between.

Today we’re taking stock of a cohort of special companies: still-private startups that have reached $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). Our goal is to understand which startup companies are actually exceptional. This late in the unicorn era, hundreds of companies around the world have reached a valuation of $1 billion, making the achievement somewhat pedestrian.

Reaching $100 million in ARR, however, still stands out.

We explored the idea earlier this week, citing Asana, Druva and WalkMe as private companies that recently reached $100 million ARR. In addition to that trio, Bill.com and Sprout Social, both of which went public this week, also crossed the nine-figure annual recurring revenue mark in 2019.

After we posted that short list, four other companies either just shy of $100 million ARR, or with a little bit more, reached out to TechCrunch, touting their own successes. Given that our point was that companies which reach the revenue threshold million are neat, it’s worth taking a moment to look at the other companies joining the $100 million ARR club.

For extra fun I got on the phone with a number of their CEOs to chat about their progress. We’ll start with a look at a company that is nearly a member of the club, and then talk about a few that recently punched their membership cards.

The $100M ARR club’s up-and-comers

GitLab: Expects to reach $100M ARR in January, 2020

To be frank, I did not know that GitLab was as large as it is. Backed by more than $400 million in private capital, GitLab competes with the now-purchased GitHub as a developer resource and service. Its backers include Goldman Sachs, ICONIQ, GV, August Capital and Khosla.

GitLab became a unicorn back in September of 2018, when it raised $100 million at a $1 billion post-money valuation. Its more recent $268 million Series E raised this September pushed that valuation to nearly $2.8 billion.

It’s a good company for us to include, as it provides a good example of how far in advance a $1 billion valuation can precede a $100 million ARR business; in GitLab’s case, provided that it grows as expected, its unicorn valuation came nearly 1.5 years before reaching nine-figure ARR.

To understand more about the company’s growth, we caught up with its CEO Sid Sijbrandij (full discussion here), learning that he views the unicorn tag as a way to help a company brand itself, but something that is outside of his company’s control. Revenue, in his view, is “much more within your control.” According to Sijbrandij, GitLab is aiming for $1 billion in revenue in 2023 and has a November, 2020 IPO targeted.

GitLab is sharing its impending ARR milestone as it runs its whole business very transparently (hence why my chat with its CEO was live-streamed, and archived on YouTube). It will be super interesting to see if the company hits the ARR target on time, and then if it can also stick the landing with a Q4 2020 IPO.

The $100 million ARR club’s newest members

Egnyte: Reached $100M ARR in November 2019

Egnyte, a player in the enterprise productivity, storage and security spaces, has kept growing since its $75 million Series E it raised last October.

The company, backed by Goldman Sachs (again), GV (again) and Kleiner Perkins, has raised just $137.5 million to date. Reaching $100 million ARR on that level of funding means that Egnyte has run efficiently as a business. In fact, as TechCrunch has reported, Egnyte has occasionally made money on its path to the public markets.

TechCrunch has spoken to Egnyte’s CEO Vineet Jain a number of times, but it seemed appropriate to get him back on the phone now that his company is nearly ready to go public (at least in terms of size). According to Jain, in fresh data released to Extra Crunch:

  • Egnyte passed the $100 million ARR threshold in November
  • The company grew about 30% in 2019
  • Egnyte expects growth to accelerate in 2020