Squarespace files for a direct listing on the NYSE

Today Squarespace, a well-known software-and-hosting provider for SMB websites, released its S-1 filing. The company is pursuing a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE. It will trade under the ticker symbol “SQSP.”

The company’s financial results paint the picture of a rapidly-growing company that has a history of profitability. Squarespace also has listed financial results that are inclusive of some share conversions among other matters. Its pro forma results presume that “all shares of our convertible preferred stock had automatically converted” into different types of common stock. The pro forma results are also inclusive of a private placement, and its recent acquisition of Tock.

It will take some time to unspool that particular knot. For now we’ll stick to Squarespace’s historical results through 2020 without those accoutrements; if you intend to buy shares in the company, you’ll want to understand the more complicated math. For now let’s focus on Squarespace’s own metrics.

In 2019, Squarespace generated revenues of $484.8 million, leading to gross profit of $402.8 million, operating income of $61.3 million, and net income of $58.2 million. In 2020 those numbers changed to revenues of $621.1 million, gross profit of $522.8 million, operating income of $40.2 million, and net income of $30.6 million.

Squarespace’s revenue grew just over 28% in 2020, compared to 2019.

For reference, its pro forma results for 2020 include a modest revenue gain to $644.2 million, gross profit of $530.5 million, an operating loss of $246.4 million, and a net loss of $267.7 million.

Squarespace has a history of cash generation, including operating cash flow of $102.3 million in 2019 and $150.0 million in 2020. The company’s cash flow data explains why Squarespace is not pursuing a traditional IPO. As Squarespace can self-fund, it does not need to sell shares in its public debut.

Turning to Squarespace-specific metrics, the company’s “unique subscriptions” rose from 2.984 million in 2019 to 3.656 million in 2020. Its annual recurring revenue (ARR) rose from $549.2 million to $705.5 million in 2020.

Squarespace’s ARR grew around 28.5% in 2020, a faster pace of expansion than its GAAP revenues.

Per the company’s IPO filing, the company “completed its estimate of the fair value of its Class A common stock for financial reporting purposes as a weighted-average $63.70 per share for shares granted prior to March 11, 2021.” That should help form a reference price measuring stick for now.

Finally, who owns the company? Major shareholders include the company’s founder and CEO Anthony Casalena, who owns just around 76% of the company’s Class B shares, or 49,086,410 total units. Accel has 15,514,196 Class A shares. General Atlantic has 22,361,073 Class A shares and 4,958,345 Class B shares, while Index Ventures has 19,460,619 of the Class A equity.

The majority of voting power rests with the company’s CEO, with 68.2% control. Public market investors will have to vet how much they like having zero say in the company’s future direction.

Regardless, this is going to be a fascinating debut. More shortly.

The IPO market is sending us mixed messages

If you only stayed up to date with the Coinbase direct listing this week, you’re forgiven. It was, after all, one heck of a flotation.

But underneath the cryptocurrency exchange’s public debut, other IPO news that matters did happen this week. And the news adds up to a somewhat muddled picture of the current IPO market.

To cap off the week, let’s run through IPO news from UiPath, Coinbase, Grab, AppLovin and Zenvia. The aggregate dataset should help you form your own perspective about where today’s IPO markets really are in terms of warmth for the often-unprofitable unicorns of the world.

Recall that we’re in the midst of a slightly more turbulent IPO window than we saw during the last quarter. After seemingly watching every company’s IPO price above-range and then charge higher on opening day, several companies pulled their offerings as the second quarter started. It was a surprise.

Since then we’ve seen Compass go public, but not at quite the level of performance it might have anticipated, and, then, this week, much has happened.

What follows is a mini-digest of IPO news from the week, tagged with our best read of just how bullish (or not) the happening really was:

What we all missed in UiPath’s latest IPO filing

Robotic process automation platform UiPath filed its first S-1/A this week, setting an initial price range for its shares. The numbers were impressive, if slightly disappointing because what UiPath indicated in terms of its potential IPO value was a lower valuation than it earned during its final private fundraising. It’s hard to say that a company looking to go public at a valuation north of $25 billion is a letdown, but compared to preceding levels of hype, the numbers were a bit of a shock.


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Here at The Exchange, we wondered if the somewhat slack news regarding UiPath’s potential IPO valuation was a warning to late-stage investors; the number of unicorns being minted or repriced higher feels higher than ever, and late-stage money has never been more active in the venture-backed startup world than it has been recently.

If UiPath were about to eat about $10 billion in worth to go public, it wouldn’t be the best indicator of how some of those late-stage bets will perform.

But in good news for UiPath shareholders, most everyone — ourselves included! — who discussed the company’s price range didn’t dig into the fact that the company first disclosed quarterly results to the same S-1/A filing that included its IPO valuation interval. And those numbers are very interesting, so much so that The Exchange is now generally expecting UiPath to target a higher price interval before it debuts.

That should either limit or close its private/public valuation gap, and, we imagine, lower a few investors’ blood pressure. Let’s look at the numbers.

UiPath’s fascinating 2020

The top-line numbers for UiPath’s 2020 are impressive. As we’ve discussed, the company grew its revenues from $336.2 million in 2019 to $607.6 million in 2020, while boosting its gross profit margin by 7 percentage points to 89% last year. That’s great!

And it improved its net margins from -155% in 2019 to just -15% in 2020. The company’s rapid growth, improving revenue quality and extreme deficit reduction were among the reasons it was a bit surprising to see its estimated public-market value come in so far underneath its final private price.

But let’s dig into the company’s quarterly results — a big thanks to the reader who sent us in this direction — to get a clearer picture of UiPath. Here’s the data:

Image Credits: UiPath filing

Coinbase opens at $381 per share, valuing the crypto exchange at nearly $100B

Today shares of Coinbase began to trade after the company executed a direct listing. From a reference price of $250, Coinbase shares opened at $381 today, a change of around 52%. At its open Coinbase was valued at $99.6 billion on a fully diluted basis. As of the time of writing Coinbase has appreciated further to just over $400 per share, valuing the company at a touch more than $104 billion.

Coinbase was worth $65.3 billion at its reference price, on a fully diluted basis.

Coinbase’s debut has been hotly anticipated, thanks to its position inside the greater crypto economy and, from a purely startup perspective, its huge value unlock. Private investors poured capital into the company during its life as a private company, valuing it as high as $8 billion.

The company’s new valuation dwarfs that prior figure, implying strong returns for its long-term backers. Today even regular folks could get a scratch at the company’s equity, and they were willing to pay up for the privilege. TechCrunch asked its audience about the debut, pre-trading results that served as an anti-indicator of where the crypto-unicorn’s shares would trade:

For Coinbase the road ahead is interesting. The company is richly capitalized and posted monster profits in its most recent quarter. However, Coinbase has yet to chart a future sufficiently delinked from the impacts of cryptocurrency price levels and resulting trading volume to be immune to a potential setback in growth and income if the value of bitcoin, et al. dropped.

But for crypto believers, watching Coinbase list is a win; it is ironic that a traditional company listing on an old-fashioned exchange is a key moment for the crypto economy, but most things come in steps. Perhaps the next major crypto company trading debut will be on a decentralized exchange.

Coinbase sets direct listing reference price at $250/share, valuing the company at as much as $65B

Coinbase, the American cryptocurrency trading giant, has set a reference price for its direct listing at $250 per share. According to the company’s most recent SEC filing, it has a fully-diluted share count of 261.3 million, giving the company a valuation of $65.3 billion. Using a simple share count of 196,760,122 provided in its most recent S-1/A filing, Coinbase would be worth a slimmer $49.2 billion.

Regardless of which share count is used to calculate the company’s valuation, it’s new worth is miles above its final private price set in 2018 when the company was worth $8 billion.

Immediate chatter following the company’s direct listing reference price was that the price could be low. While Coinbase will not suffer usual venture capital censure if its shares quickly appreciate as it is not selling stock in its flotation, it would still be slightly humorous if its set reference price was merely a reference to an overly conservative estimate of its worth.

Its private backers are in for a bonanza either way. Around four years ago in 2017 Coinbase was worth just $1.6 billion, according to Crunchbase data. For investors in that round, let alone its earlier fundraises, the valuation implied by a $250 per-share price represents a multiple of around 40x from the price that they paid.

The Coinbase direct listing was turbocharged recently when the company provided a first-look at its Q1 2021 performance. As TechCrunch reported at the time, the company’s recent growth was impressive, with revenue scaling from $585.1 million in Q4 2020, to $1.8 billion in the first three months of this year. The new numbers set an already-hot company’s public debut on fire.

Place your bets now concerning where Coinbase might open, and how high its value may rise. It’s going to be quite the show.

5 questions about Grab’s epic SPAC investor deck

As expected, Southeast Asian super-app Grab is going public via a SPAC, or blank check company.

The combination, which TechCrunch discussed over the weekend, will value Grab on an equity basis at $39.6 billion and will provide around $4.5 billion in cash, $4.0 billion of which will come in the form of a private investment in public equity, or PIPE. Altimeter Capital is putting up $750 million in the PIPE — fitting, as Grab is merging with one of Alitmeter’s SPACs.

Grab, which provides ride-hailing, payments and food delivery, will trade under the ticker symbol “GRAB” on Nasdaq when the deal closes. The announcement comes a day after Uber told its investors it was seeing recovery in certain transactions, including ride-hailing and delivery.

Uber also told the investing public that it’s still on track to reach adjusted EBITDA profitability in Q4 2021. The American ride-hailing giant did a surprising amount of work clearing brush for the Grab deal. Extra Crunch examined Uber’s ramp towards profitability yesterday.

This morning, let’s talk through several key points from Grab’s SPAC investor deck. We’ll discuss growth, segment profitability, aggregate costs and COVID-19, among other factors. You can read along in the presentation here.

How harshly did COVID-19 impact the business?

The impact on Grab’s operations from COVID-19 resembles what happened to Uber in that the company’s deliveries business had a stellar 2020, while its ride-hailing business did not.

From a high level, Grab’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) was essentially flat from 2019 to 2020, rising from $12.2 billion to $12.5 billion. However, the company did manage to greatly boost its adjusted net revenue over the same period, which rose from $1.0 billion to $1.6 billion.

UiPath’s first IPO pricing could be a warning to late-stage investors

A few months back, robotic process automation (RPA) unicorn UiPath raised a huge $750 million round at a valuation of around $35 billion. The capital came ahead of the company’s expected IPO, so its then-new valuation helped provide a measuring stick for where its eventual flotation could price.

UiPath then filed to go public. But today the company’s first IPO price range was released, failing to value the company where its final private backers expected it to.

In an S-1/A filing, UiPath disclosed that it expects its IPO to price between $43 and $50 per share. Using a simple share count of 516,545,035, the company would be worth $22.2 billion to $25.8 billion at the lower and upper extremes of its expected price interval. Neither of those numbers is close to what it was worth, in theory, just a few months ago.

According to IPO watching group Renaissance Capital, UiPath is worth up to $26.0 billion on a fully diluted basis. That’s not much more than its simple valuation.

For UiPath, its initial IPO price interval is a disappointment, though the company could see an upward revision in its valuation before it does sell shares and begin to trade. But more to the point, the company’s private-market valuation bump followed by a quick public-market correction stands out as a counter-example to something that we’ve seen so frequently in recent months.

Is UiPath’s first IPO price interval another indicator that the IPO market is cooling?

Remember Roblox?

If you think back to the end of 2020, Roblox decided to cancel its IPO and pursue a direct listing instead. Why? Because a few companies like Airbnb had gone public at what appeared to be strong valuation marks only to see their values rocket once they began to trade. So, Roblox decided to raise a huge amount of private capital, and then direct list.

Ride-hailing’s profitability promise is in its final countdown

After a short hiatus, The Exchange is back. We’ll spend part of this week digging into the global venture capital scene’s Q1 performance, but today, we’re kicking off with a quick dive into Uber, Lyft, Deliveroo and DoorDash — and the ability of on-demand companies of various stripes to generate profit.

Uber is our lodestone today because it dropped a new SEC filing that includes some notes on its recent performance. And, most critically, a piece of guidance for investors concerning its ability to make money this year.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


By “make money,” we don’t mean traditional net income on a GAAP — generally accepted accounting principles — basis. We mean Uber is providing its public investors with notes on its future adjusted profitability. Real profits are still somewhere out in the uncharted future.

So let’s parse Uber’s latest, vet its profit promise, consider its rivals and their performance, and then ask ourselves if the great ride-hailing and food-delivery booms will ever make back the money they cost to scale.

Uber’s planned profits

In 2019, Lyft told investors to expect positive adjusted EBITDA by the final quarter of 2021; at the time, Uber said it would generate full-year positive adjusted EBITDA. Those are slightly different (if related) promises. Later, Uber moved up its profitability promise to Q4 2020, but that was not to be.

After Uber changed up its profitability timeline, COVID-19 came. The pandemic forced the American ride-hailing company to revert to its previous adjusted profitability promises.

Uber and Lyft took huge revenue hits as their core ride-hailing businesses dried up faster than water on a Texas sidewalk after COVID-19 lockdowns took effect. In response, Uber fell back on its Uber Eats business, while Lyft had to get by without a second business line.

Equity Monday: Microsoft buys Nuance, Uber isn’t dead, and Austin has a new unicorn

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here and myself here. It is good to be back!

There was a lot to get through, so, in order that we discussed the topics on the show, here’s our rundown:

Don’t forget that Coinbase is listing this week, yeah? Chat soon!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

Building and leading an early-stage sales team with Zoom CRO Ryan Azus

This year at Early Stage, TechCrunch spoke with Zoom Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) Ryan Azus about building an early-stage sales team. Azus is perhaps best known for leading the video-calling giant’s income arm during COVID-19, but his experience building RingCentral’s North American sales organization from the ground up made him the perfect guest to chat with about building an early-stage sales team.

We asked him about when founders should step aside from leading their startup’s sales org, how to build a working sales culture, hiring diversely, how to pick customer segments and how to build a playbook.

Below, TechCrunch has compiled a number of key comments from Azus, and afterward we’ve included the full video from the interview as well as a transcript. Let’s go!


When should founders let others run sales?

Nearly every startup leans on its CEO as its first salesperson. After all, who else knows the product and can talk it up like the startup’s leader? But having the CEO as point-person for sales scales poorly. So, when is the right time to have someone else step in?

Fairly early on. First off, CEOs need to solve customer needs. And so it’s important to be very hands-on for a while to really understand while you’re trying to figure out product-market fit. And then bringing in some of those sales people as you start seeing something [good].

Part of it is also knowing what type of salesperson you need. [ … ] Who is your core audience? What persona are you going after? And trying to find people that know and understand selling something that’s primarily very transactional to small businesses, [or] e-commerce lead, or selling something that’s more enterprise — those are different animals, different segments that you’re going after. One mistake [startups make] is hiring the wrong type of salesperson. (Time stamp: 5:29)


How much product-market fit is enough?