News & Opinion | July 5, 2019 6:22 am

Checking in on the Share Price of 2019’s “Unicorn” IPOs

These are the companies you should have gotten in on early

If only you'd invested in Beyond Meat when it first went public
If only you'd invested in Beyond Meat when it first went public
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The year 2019 is being called the year of the “unicorn stampede,” with many billion-dollar tech companies going public.

In venture capital, a “unicorn” is a startup company with a value of over $1 billion, and they’re going public at an unprecedented rate this year.

So what exactly makes unicorns so special? In the past, companies typically needed a much larger amount of resources to grow to a billion-dollar valuation. Going public was a way for companies to access new sources of funding. Today, however, companies can grow quickly with far fewer resources, leading to this year’s unicorn boom.

According to HowMuch.net, plant-based meat producer Beyond Meat is the best-performing unicorn of the year, followed by electronic signing software DocuSign, video communications company Zoom, cloud computing company PagerDuty and financial services company TradeWeb.

Meanwhile, the five worst-performing unicorns are Snap Inc., Lyft, Dropbox, Spotify and Slack.

Along with naming the top and bottom five, HowMuch.net took a look at 13 unicorns to determine what a $1,000 initial investment in each would be worth today.

A wise initial investment in the year’s top unicorn, Beyond Meat, would be worth $3,274 if you had invested when the company first went public back in May. The remaining unicorns fall considerably short of Beyond Meat’s valuation, with a $1,000 initial investment in the number-two company, DocuSign, worth $1,311, according to HowMuch.net’s calculations.

And what about the worst-performing companies? A 1,000 initial investment in Snap inc., the poorest performing unicorn, would only be worth $605, as of HowMuch.net’s June 25 report. According to the site, while some have pointed to these more disappointing performances as a sign that the unicorn bubble is bursting, the strong performance of the top companies suggests that betting wisely can still reap huge returns.

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