Casper’s attempt at a public debut is becoming downright embarrassing. The mattress-in-a-box company dramatically slashed its initial public offering price, cutting its valuation and dimming hopes of a positive reception by investors. The company said Wednesday in a regulatory filing that it had cut its IPO target share price to $12 to $13 from $17 to $19. That values the company at around $500 million, down from the $705 million it valued itself at last week. At one point, Casper was valued at more than $1 billion. Its shares priced at the low-end, or $12, the Wall Street Journal reported. Lire l’article de CNN
So what does the Casper IPO mean for the broader tech market? Well, of course, this deal may just wind up being a one-off. But then again, as seen with other high-profile offerings like Uber and Lyft, there does appear to be more skepticism. What’s more, the WeWork implosion is a stark reminder of how things can go off the rails. Simply put, the “growth at all costs” strategy is not in vogue right now—at least on Wall Street. Lire l’article de Forbes
La question à 100 millions de dollars
Casper was a unicorn to private investors. To the public markets, it is only about a third of one. Despite what Casper says in its prospectus—that it brings “the benefits of cutting-edge technology, data, and insights directly to consumers,” that it is on the “cutting edge of sleep innovations,” that it has an app—Casper is not a technology business. It’s a sleek, direct-to-consumer company that smartly realized buying a mattress is an awful experience that could be made a little less awful with online purchases, free delivery, and free trials. It’s a middleman that sources its mattresses from a small number of manufacturers, at least one of whom also makes mattresses for Casper’s many competitors. Lire l’article de Quartz
Ces dix dernières années, la transition de l’investissement vers les fonds “passifs” a été fulgurante. Ces fonds investissent automatiquement dans les actions et obligations liquides, c’est-à-dire faciles à vendre ou à acheter. Les fonds passifs les plus prisés sont d’une taille colossale, gérés par des ordinateurs, leur actionnariat est très dilué et les commissions de courtage sont minimes. “Ces dix dernières années, la transition de l’investissement vers les fonds “passifs” a été fulgurante” Le boom de cet investissement passif a provoqué son antithèse : des investissements de niche, gérés par des professionnels, discrets, peu échangés et à commissions élevées. Les investisseurs institutionnels se jettent désormais tête première dans l’investissement privé, et tout particulièrement le capital-risque, le private equity et le marché privé de la dette. Les signes sont omniprésents. Les grands fonds de pension et les fonds souverains placent une part toujours plus importante de leurs actifs dans les marchés de capitaux privés. Lire l’article du Nouvel Économiste
La conclusion ?
2019 was kind of a messy year for tech IPOs. It started well, but then it felt like everybody was rushing to “get out” before the economy went south or the window closed. We saw the rise and fall of big name brands, questioned business models that once made sense, and embraced a drive to more rational business models. I, for one, think this was actually a good thing. It was good because although 2019 was a year full of challenges, it was also a year of lessons to be learned. For the past couple of years, highly valued startups have been a bit like Icarus, flying too close to the sun and full of hubris and non-stop self-promotion about how they’ve been “crushing it.” Now, reality is setting in. With many companies previously chasing that mythical “unicorn” status, will 2020 be the year we answer the question: Are unicorns extinct? Lire l’article de VentureBeat