2022 saw several major fintechs slamming the breaks on their plans to go public, but will 2023 fare any better?
The march of private fintechs onto the public markets firmly stumbled in 2022.
Global markets were exceptionally volatile as a result of inflation, rising interest rates, the war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis, not to mention political turmoil in the UK.
Investors also weighed the poor performance of 2021’s cohort of fintech IPOs.
Robinhood had listed at $38 on the NYSE in 2021 but spent most of 2022 under $10, PensionBee, a similar tale after listing on the LSE at 165p ended 2022 under 60p, and Coinbase, the poster child of the crypto resolution, listed at $381 on NASDAQ but now languished at under $38.
While 2022 had looked set to be a bumper year of fintech IPOs, many instead decided to delay or cancel their plans entirely.
In fact, three high-profile fintech IPOs had to publicly hit the breaks last year, as the economic situation rapidly worsened.
The payments group formerly known as WorldRemit wasn’t high up on our IPO list for 2022… until reports emerged that its quietly-planned IPO had imploded due to accounting and management issues at the company.
So if those were the listings that were pulled in 2022 (and certainly many more were pulled behind the scenes) what does that mean for 2023’s IPO hopefuls?
Here are the runners and riders:
Last year two fintechs had publicly stated or were heavily reported to be planning to list in 2022, the same cannot be said for 2023.
With most keeping tight-lipped about their plans (or publicly stating that they won’t list in 2023), there are no candidates for ‘most likely to IPO’ this year.
In October 2022 it was reported that Zopa is close to raising $100m at a higher valuation, which would give the company a longer runway before its IPO, however, this raise has yet to be announced by the bank.
If Zopa can use that funding to further increase its existing profitability in 2023 and position itself as a fintech defying the downturn, then it might stand an outside chance at listing.
Stripe president and co-founder John Collison’s message that Stripe remains “very happy as a private company" hasn’t changed in the past 12 months, in fact inside the fintech the situation has worsened.
Firstly, Stripe’s internal valuation (an accounting metric that compares Stripe’s common stock against those of its listed peers) has been cut from the $95bn price tag it last raised private capital at, to $74bn, a 28 per cent decline. Secondly, the company in November slashed its headcount by 14 per cent, as CEO and co-founder Patrick Collison wrote that he recognised Stripe had made a mistake by increasing costs as it enters a “different economic climate”.
However, the reason why Stripe is still moderately likely to IPO is simply due to its sheer scale and the weight of expectations on the company. Even at a lower $74bn valuation, it would still be one of the largest IPOs on record and Stripe’s leadership is under increasing pressure to list from external investors and staff who are keen to exercise their options before they expire.
Klarna and Checkout.com
I’ll group these two together as the story is similar, all have seen their private valuations tumble in the last 12 months. Klarna is down 85 per cent from $45.6bn to $6.7bn, and Checkout.com slashed its internal valuation from $40bn to $11bn.
It's unlikely that either’s existing shareholders will want them to attempt an IPO until those price tags recover.
Reassuring investors following accounting errors and management turnover will take time, and Zepz likely has a way to go before it can put together a meaningful pitch to the market.
With its UK banking licence and 2021 financial results both still missing in action, Revolut has a long way to go before it can prove to investors that it is prepared for the rigour that the public markets will demand.
Revolut continues to lay the groundwork, with an investor relations team and CEO Nikolay Storonsky dropping hints that the company is now “much closer to the IPO”, yet the expectation is that it still has a way to go.
So there you have it, the most and least likely IPO candidates for 2023. Did we miss anyone out? Let us know on Twitter @AltFiNews