SINGAPORE (Jan 14): Not since late 1999 and the first few months of 2000, at the height of tech and dotcom bubble, has there been such a long line-up of tech firms seeking a listing on the stock market. Unlike the heady days at the turn of the century, when even Pets.com made it to the tech-heavy Nasdaq, this year’s list is formidable. If all the tech unicorns, or venture capital (VC)-funded tech companies with valuations of more than US$1 billion ($1.36 billion), that have already filed paperwork — or hired investment banks or law firms to prepare them — are actually listed, 2019 will be a blockbuster year for tech IPOs. 

Ride-hailing giant Uber and its main rival Lyft, home-sharing firm Airbnb, social media player Pinterest and messaging and office productivity tools provider Slack are among those that have already hired investment banks. Other firms that are reportedly ready to list this year include online delivery firm Postmates; internet-connected, indoor cycling bike firm Peloton Interactive; and web security firm Cloudflare. The listings could be a bonanza for investment banks, law firms, investor relations outfits and communications firms and indeed further boost already-overheated real estate prices in the San Francisco Bay Area as executives rolling from IPO riches start to splurge.

VC-backed tech firms raised more than US$20 billion through IPOs in the US last year, up from about US$12 billion in 2017, according to financial research firm Dealogic. This year, tech firms could raise at least twice as much as they did last year. Uber alone is reportedly looking to raise US$10 billion, whereas Lyft and Airbnb are reportedly in a market to raise at least US$2 billion each.

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