With the high-profile public debuts of tech companies like Spotify, Dropbox and DocuSign, 2018 feels like it's shaping up to be the best year in a long time for VC-backed IPOs in the US. Is it more than just a feeling?
As it turns out, the reason it seems like more companies have gone public this year is because they have. This year is on pace to surpass last year in terms of both the number of IPOs and their combined value, and 2018 has already surpassed 2016 deal value.
The first quarter of 2017 saw nine VC-backed companies go public, according to PitchBook data. This year, the 1Q number rose to 15. Moving into the second quarter, five companies took the plunge in April both this year and last. But if the early days of May are any indication, 2Q 2018 is likely to pull ahead of 2Q 2017. Three VC-backed companies went public during the first four days of May this year, compared to five that made their debuts during all of last year's 2Q.
By one measure, the size of the offerings is also getting bigger. Median deal size is way up this year, clocking in at $119 million. That's an increase from $78.8 million in 2017, and it's higher than any year since at least 2008. Looking at the average value rather than the median, however, the size of VC-backed IPOs has actually ticked down this year after a spike upward in 2017 (which makes sense, considering Snap's $3.4 billion offering).
Below are two charts that help tell the story of VC-backed IPOs in the US over the last decade.