Friday, October 22, 2021

For unicorns, how much does the path to go public really matter? – TechCrunch

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In a recent episode of TechCrunch’s Equity podcast, presenters Natasha Mascarenhas and Alex Wilhelm invited Yext’s CFO Steve Cakebread and Latch CFO Garth mitchell Continue to discuss when companies should go public, the costs and benefits of the process, and when a SPAC might make sense. Yext searched for a traditional initial public offering a few years ago; Latch is now going public through a combination of blank check companies.

The talk was more than illustrative, as we heard two CFOs share their views on delayed public offerings and when different types of debuts might make the most sense. While the TechCrunch team has on occasion downplayed certain deals led by SPAC, the pair argued that the transactions may make sense.

Supporting the conversation was Cakebread recent book focusing on IPO, which posited not only that publicly traded companies sooner rather than later is good for their internal operations, but also because it can give the public an opportunity to participate in the success of a company.

In today’s hyper-charged private markets and sparkling public domain, his argument is worth considering.

What follows is the summary for those who prefer the written word, but we have also included the full episode below.

What CFOs Say

Cakebread said he began shaping his ideas around IPOs while working at Salesforce alongside CEO Mark Benioff as they pondered the possibility of going public.

“What we began to realize was [that] makes you more efficient; it forces you to put systems in place; it makes you run a business rather than just keep getting money from people to grow the business, ”he said. “And from a business point of view … it was always about discipline, running a business and getting started.”

As Cakebread vetted other companies and served on boards of directors, his ideas evolved. He noted that the number of publicly traded companies on exchanges has dropped by 50% over the past decade or so. That is a problem.

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