This spring at Silicon Valley staple Accel, it's turned into reality.
Slack's public debut this week marked the third massive unicorn exit for Accel in quick succession, leaving the investor as the VC firm that's perhaps profited more than any other from a recent binge of venture-backed IPOs. And that's one of nine things to know from the past week:
1. ROI from IPOsSlack conducted an uncommon direct listing this week, forgoing a traditional IPO and instead moving onto the public market without any underwriting and without raising new cash. After establishing a reference price of $26 per share for the listing on Wednesday, Slack began trading Thursday at $38.50 and ultimately closed the week at $37.22, equating to a market cap of about $18.8 billion. We built a datagraphic with more info on the offering.
That's well over two times the $7.1 billion valuation Slack attained last August with its final round of VC backing. And it means that Accel—which, with a 23.8% holding, is Slack's biggest backer—now owns a stake in the messaging company worth about $4.5 billion.
It was only last week that CrowdStrike, another Accel portfolio company, conducted a major unicorn IPO, pricing its offering at $34 per share before experiencing a major first-week leap. Stock in the cybersecurity company closed Friday at just over $72 per share, which values Accel's 20% post-IPO stake in the business at more than $2.6 billion. And it was less than three months ago that PagerDuty went public. Accel owned a 10.8% post-IPO stake in the software unicorn, a holding that was worth more than $420 million at Friday's close.
Add it all up, and Accel's stakes in three of the biggest companies to go public this spring are now worth about $7.5 billion. Other firms have banked big profits of their own from multiple offerings in recent weeks, including Andreessen Horowitz (PagerDuty, Pinterest, Slack and Lyft) and Bessemer Venture Partners (PagerDuty and Pinterest). But so far, the month of June has belonged to Accel.
It continues a crazy stretch of exits for the Bay Area firm. Accel was a backer of Spotify before the streaming company's direct listing last year. It was an investor in DocuSign, which conducted one of 2018's biggest VC-backed IPOs. And it was one of the major winners when Qualtrics eschewed a planned IPO late last year in favor of an $8 billion sale to software giant SAP.
Which companies will be next? It's of course hard to say. But it's worth noting that workplace automation startup UiPath, emerging scooter kingpin Bird and ridesharing unicorn Ola are all part of Accel's current portfolio.