In case you missed it, venture capital-backed IPOs had a notable 2004, raising more money last year than in the past three years combined. We'll leave it for another post to explore whether or not that's a good thing. Now it's time to play guess the VC-backed IPOs of 2005. We already know about the companies that have filed prospectuses: Egenera, FastClick, and Unica, to pick a random sample. What about the ones that haven't filed yet?
One name that comes up frequently is TellMe Networks, a six-year-old voice application developer in Mountain View, Calif. The company has raised over $100 million from such VC firms as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Benchmark Capital. Last year, it was rumored to have earned $100 million in revenues. Another candidate is Danger Inc. Founded in 1999, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company makes the software in T-Mobile’s Sidekick smart phone (the one hawked by Snoop Dog on TV) and has raised roughly $130 million from Softbank Capital Partners, Mobius Venture Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Apple Computer founder Steve Wozniak, among others. Finally, there's Vonage in Edison, N.J. The voice-over-Internet company landed a whopping $105 million last year in a financing round led by New Enterprise Associates. As you can see, a lot of money has been tied up in these outfits for a while, and someday, somehow, it must come out.
A leading (albeit unreliable) indicator that a private company is preparing to go public is when it re-incorporates in Delaware, the state with the friendliest laws for public corporations. Which Silicon Valley companies have recently planted a flag in the "First State?" Pillar Data Systems Inc., a storage company funded by Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, and Alien Technology, a maker of radio frequency chips backed by quite a cadre of investors. Both made the move late last year. Hey, maybe they just like pre-colonial tourist sites.