Facebook isn’t the only company with “IPO anxiety“: the fear that taking your start-up public is so 1999. Between increased regulations, lingering apprehension over a repeat of the dot-com bust, and secondary markets that make it easier than ever to sell shares before a company goes public, tech founders seem to be acting shy around, if not outright avoiding, the public market. Like Google’s IPO in 2004, one big success story could change that. But is travel site Kayak, which filed for a $50 million IPO today, the one to do it?
GigaOm says interest in going public is likely to come from just this kind of slightly smaller, second-tier tech company, which brought in $128 million in nine months. But while Kayak is certainly well positioned in travel booking, it faces huge competition from Google, who is buying flight-information-software company ITA and can block the data once the deal’s finalized.
With the number of tech IPOs already up to 25 this year, it seems more likely that an influential public offering will come from a company like Skype, who has already filed. Unfortunately, both Skype and Zipcar, the revenue-poor, accolade-rich car-sharing company, appear to have delayed their IPOs — another hallmark of the newfound reluctance. While there’s a chance that eHarmony, Hulu, and Pandora might all file, for now that’s just a rumor. As for Facebook’s IPO, Mark Zuckerberg says, “Don’t hold your breath.”