Freelance Platform Upwork Seeks $100M In IPO


Joining many Bay Area companies seeking to go public in 2018, Upwork Inc. is reportedly looking to bring in $100 million through an initial public offering (IPO). The California company was created in 2014 with the merger of Odesk and Elance, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported.

The outlet reported that the company had a $30 million funding round following its 2014 merger, which valued the company at approximately $700 million. Benchmark, Sigma Partners, Globespan Capital Partners and T. Rowe Price are among the company’s biggest stakeholders. The firm claims it has over 5,000 freelancers across more than 70 categories.

Beyond Upwork, eight companies in the area reportedly have “outstanding public IPO filings,” such as NIO Inc., an electric car firm. At the same time, Guardent Health Inc. is reportedly seeking $100 million through an offering. The latest flood of Bay Area IPOs has the potential to bring the total number of offerings in the region to 27 – almost reaching the 28 IPOs seen in the region in 2014.

The news comes as companies are raising capital through the markets at an uncommonly fast pace compared to the past 20 years, with 120 companies using initial public offerings (IPOs) to raise more than $35 billion on U.S. exchanges. Dealogic data indicates that this year’s activity is the highest volume since 2014, as well as one of the busiest years on record, The Wall Street Journal reported in July.

While bankers do not have a clear reason as to why companies are seeking capital in the public markets, favorable business conditions might be at play: The stock markets are strong, and investors are seeking companies with high growth. Neither bankers nor lawyers expect this fast pace of IPOs to slow for the remainder of the year. And Morgan Stanley’s Evan Damast said in July that the “global IPO pipeline is stronger now than it’s been since the financial crisis.”


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