The IPO Buzz: March Gets a Lyft

Lyft (LYFT proposed) filed its long-awaited IPO underwriting papers around noontime on Friday, March 1st. That ushered in the “Days of the Unicorns” for the IPO Calendar. A unicorn is a private company with a valuation of $1 billion or more.

Lyft is valued at $11.5 billion, CBInsights reports. Uber, its ride-share rival, is valued at $72 billion. And if you believe the headlines, Uber is likely to file its IPO prospectus soon. Back in December, both Lyft and Uber had filed confidential IPO paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Worth noting: There are 325 unicorns with a total cumulative valuation of $1.08 trillion, according to CBInsights. That’s a big pipeline, by anyone’s standards.

Do Your Homework

Of course, many media companies will have a lot to say about Lyft. But everything you need to know is at your fingertips. Look no further than Lyft’s prospectus (its S-1 filing) and check out the “Risk Factors” section. You can click on the prospectus found here for Lyft and scroll down to page 20. The list ends on page 61. In short, there are 41 pages of Lyft’s risk factors for the whole world to inspect. Have fun. You might find some surprises.

This brings us to March 2019 and the IPO History Book. For the years 2001 through 2018, the month of March alone produced a cumulative total of 212 IPOs, SEC records show.

Over the last 18 years, the March IPO Calendar averaged 11.8 deals. March 2014 was the busiest, with 27 IPOs, and March 2009 the slowest, with only one IPO. March 2019 opened with the unicorn Lyft.

Hearts and Money

This week has two deals, one a medical device company focused on treating heart disease and the other an online Chinese brokerage firm catering to young Chinese investors.

Wednesday evening for Thursday morning:

ShockWave Medical (SWAV proposed), based in Santa Clara, California, makes catheters and related products that use sonic pressure waves to break up calcified plaques in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD). The company has adapted the technology used to treat kidney stones for over 30 years, the prospectus says.

Thursday evening for Friday morning:

Futu Holdings (FHL proposed), based in Hong Kong, operates an online brokerage with a social network for high-earning young Chinese investors. The clients’ average age is 35. Futu is backed by Tencent, China’s dominant Internet company.

(For more information on these companies, please check the company profiles on’s website.)

Second Week of March

At press time, the IPO Calendar for the week of March 11th was as clean as freshly fallen snow. But anything can happen when the SEC’s filing window opens again for business on Monday morning.

Stay tuned.

Disclosure: Neither the author nor anyone else on the staff has a position in any stocks mentioned, nor do we trade or invest in IPOs. The author and staff do not issue advice, recommendations or opinion.