Much-Hyped Cloud Startup Snowflake to Go Public

The cloud biz is torrential

Buzzy tech startup Snowflake will go public on the NYSE today under the ticker SNOW. It’s expected to pop like *NSYNC. 

The backstory: The eight-year-old startup provides cloud-based data management for businesses (stop snoring, it’s rude). Bloomberg describes its product as “a vacuum sucking up data strewn across in different systems, so that businesses can analyze it all together.” 

Investors have that surprise snow day feeling 

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Salesforce have each thrown $250 million in the pot. And while Snowflake initially targeted a share price between $75 and $85, last night it priced its IPO at a reported $120/share. 

  • Worth $33.3 billion, it would be the most valuable software startup ever to go public. 

Why the hype? The enterprise cloud biz is torrential—lots of businesses need lots of data stored and analyzed. Snowflake is competing with mammoth incumbents Oracle and Amazon Web Services’s Redshift, but some analysts say Snowflake’s product is stronger and more flexible than the legacy players’. 

  • Snowflake hauled in a Minneapolis-in-December drift of revenue in its most recent fiscal year, growing 174% annually to $265 million.
  • But the company, which embarked on a pricey expansion last year following a CEO shakeup, is not profitable. 

You know what they say about IPOs: When it snows, it blizzards 

As of the end of last week, U.S.-listed companies had raised over $78 billion in 2020…though many of them are doing it the new-fashioned way: blank-check companies, also known as SPACs. 

  • Former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPAC, Social Capital Hedosophia II, took real estate tech company Opendoor public yesterday at a $4.8 billion valuation. 

Looking ahead…with 12 entrants, this is the busiest week for IPOs since Uber went public in May 2019. Videogame engine maker Unity will join Snowflake on the NYSE today, looking to raise up to $1.2 billion.

Via Morning Brew

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