Lately, I’ve had the sense that as we all sit back and assume that companies like Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox are going to wait forever to go public, we’re going to be surprised. I think we are going to see some big names go out this year—Square?—and more go out next year—Uber? Dropbox?
I don’t have new facts to report about what the companies are planning. This is just me reading the tea leaves, if you will, and a few facial expressions from key individuals. But nonetheless, if the prevailing narrative is that companies are going to wait “forever,” I think the prevailing narrative is wrong.
In fact, it’s long been clear to me that the story reporters and investors love to tell about companies waiting much longer to go public has been partially overplayed. Yes, there is less and less pressure for companies to go public. Yes, they are reaching maturity earlier, so as they stay private, they are looking like big public companies. (For a very good take, see Diego Berdakin’s comment on “A History Lesson for IPO Watchers.”)