2014 saw the tech IPO market back in full swing with Alibaba, ZenDesk, GrubHub and GoPro among the most notable. Mike Evans of GrubHub gives an enlightening glimpse into the process of actually IPO’ing a company. As is to be expected, there’s a not insignificant amount of red tape and “optics” involved. The only somewhat surprising part to me was the amount of effort actually put in by the investment banks:
The best banks had company on-brand presentations that showed they understood the drivers and culture of the business. They had done lots of research including calling our customers to ask about why they liked the product. They even had video of customer perspectives on the business. I should specifically call out that Citi was head and shoulders above the rest, and clearly wanted our business. It proved to be a good choice because they worked very hard.
I’ve seen investors making silly $5 million bets with much higher risks put in less effort than that.