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As Q2’s lull fades, unicorn IPOs are revving up

The public markets give, and the public markets take away. Earlier this morning, enterprise cloud storage and productivity company Box got into a more public spat with some of its shareholders upset with its performance and management decisions. But while Box endures the more difficult chapters of being a public company, other companies are racing to join the ranks of the listed concerns of the world.

If it feels like IPO news slowed for a few weeks at the start of the second quarter, your gut is correct. Investors previously told The Exchange that the first, third and fourth quarters of 2021 would be hot periods for public debuts, but that Q2 would be slower. Their argument revolved around reporting cadences and how long it takes for certain periods of accounting work to be completed.


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So we weren’t surprised when the second quarter’s IPO cycle began to feel a bit soft compared to the rapid-fire first quarter. And, as we’ve all heard in recent days, the great SPAC rush is slowing.

But that hasn’t stopped a number of firms from defying expectations and going public all the same. Online hosting and website builder Squarespace has not only filed but filled in its public filing with notes on its anticipated direct listing. We have to talk about its choice to list directly in light of new financial information we have concerning its recent performance.

But there’s more: Expensify filed to go public yesterday, albeit privately. And the SmartRent SPAC combination, though now slightly dated, is also worth a moment of our time.

The final element in the current IPO landscape is the recent Darktrace IPO in the United Kingdom, which, after that market had a rough start to its tech IPO calendar, is now seeing better results. So, let’s discuss IPOs to fully understand where we stand today in the realm of unicorn liquidity.

Squarespace’s direct listing

When The Exchange first dug into Squarespace’s IPO filing, we did our best to parse its full-year results because we lacked its quarterly details. This leaves us with two things to chew on: Why is Squarespace pursuing a direct listing over another listing technique, and what can its current and more granular operating results tell us about the choice?

On the first count, if Squarespace is direct listing, we can presume that it doesn’t need more cash to operate. So, how much cash does the company have on hand? A good chunk of change: $183.3 million.