AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Are we building the next dot-com bubble?

Member exclusive by Alison Griswold for The tech IPO boom

You could be forgiven for thinking startups had stopped going public.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s notorious co-founder and former chief executive, famously said he would take the company public as “late as humanly possible.” “It’ll be one day before my employees and significant others come to my office with pitchforks and torches,” he said at a conference in June 2016. “We will IPO the day before that.”

Kalanick had a point. Why, after all, would a company like Uber bother with public markets? Companies traditionally go public to raise money, but the Ubers of the world have enjoyed a seemingly limitless capacity to attract funding from private investors. Uber has, at last count, secured nearly $20 billion in private financing, and surely there is more where that came from.

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