Success stories

Goldman Sachs Identifies Start-ups Most Likely To File For IPOs: Success Stories

Airbnb and Dropbox among companies tipped to IPO

By Michelle Hammond
Monday, 05 December 2011

Airbnb, Dropbox and Square are among the 42 start-ups most likely to file for an initial public offering, according to Goldman Sachs, while BOKU, Rovio and Tumblr are also on the list.


Goldman Sachs, the New-York-based investment bank and securities firm, recently held a conference for early-stage companies, who presented to bankers, investors and industry peers.


According to an article by US news site TechCrunch, the event “basically functions as an extremely foresighted form of lead generation”.


“It wants to make a relationship as early on as possible, in case some of them actually do need Goldman’s services in the process,” the article said.


Goldman Sachs identified 42 companies as potential IPO candidates, including:



Airbnb was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky. It works as a travel network by pairing travelers with locals willing to rent out their homes for a fee.


In June, Matthew Ho became the first Australia-based hire as the company prepared to close a major funding round, including an investment from US actor Ashton Kutcher.


In July, it was revealed Airbnb had raised $112 million in a deal that values the company’s equity at $1.3 billion.


Airbnb said it would use the funds to expand into global markets, namely Europe and Brazil.


Since its launch, more than two million bookings have gone through the Airbnb system, ranging from a night in a flat to a stint on a yacht.



BOKU, which appeared on Forbes’ latest list of America’s 100 Most Promising Companies, was founded in 2008 by Mark Britto, Ron Hirson and Erich Ringewald.


BOKU creates software that helps online merchants process payments using a customer’s mobile phone number in place of a credit card. It then takes a small cut of each transaction.


Having raised $42 million in venture capital from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures, customers include Facebook and Electronic Arts.


In 2010, fiscal sales for the company stood at $55 million.



Drobox was founded in 2007 by university graduates Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi.


After being forced to work from multiple computers, Houston was inspired to create a service that would let people bring all their files anywhere, with no need to email around attachments.


In 2008, Sequoia Capital led a $7.2 million Series A funding round, with Accel Partners, to bring Dropbox to the market, and the company recently raised $250 million from seven new investors.


Forbes reported the company expects to have $240 million in revenue this year, while other reports point to a $4 billion valuation.



Rovio was founded in 2003 by university students Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen and Kim Dikert. The company is best known for its Angry Birds game for mobile devices.


Angry Birds has been praised for its successful combination of addictive gameplay, comical style and low price.


With a combined 300 million downloads across all platforms, the game has been described as “the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far”.


In August, it was reported Rovio is in talks with a major entertainment company

about an investment that would propel its worth to $1.3 billion.


According to Bloomberg, rumoured bidders include Disney, Zynga and Electronic Arts.



Square was founded in 2010 by former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey. It enables customers and businesses to accept credit card payments on mobile devices.


Since its launch, Square has shipped more than 800,000 card readers to merchants and is currently processing more than $2 billion in payments annually.


British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson recently invested an undisclosed sum in the company,

following a $110 million funding round.


The Series C financing round was led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.


Square recently recorded $10 million in daily transactions, a spokesperson has revealed, up from the $4 million per day in gross payment volume that it announced earlier in the year.



Tumblr was founded in 2007 by David Karp. It’s a website and micro-blogging platform that allows users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio to a short-form blog.


The site ranks as the 10th largest social network, with 6.8 million weekly visits.


Tumblr has raised funding from Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, Martin Varsavsky, John Borthwick, Fred Seibert and Sequoia Capital, among others.


In October, Tumblr became the first blogging platform to host US President Barack Obama’s blog.


Meanwhile, social gaming company Zynga has updated its IPO filing to confirm it will offer 100 million shares, with a starting price of between $US8.50-10, to raise as much as $US1 billion.


Based on the higher share price, Zynga would be valued at $US7-10 billion.

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