Uber’s botched market debut has a lesson for other unicorns: don’t wait so long to go public. Companies have more access to private capital than ever before, and many are putting off the scrutiny of public markets for as long as possible. There are 349 unicorns, or private companies valued at $1bn or more, around the world, according to research firm CB Insights. By avoiding public markets, those unicorns are forgoing critical feedback about their progress — feedback that fawning private investors are unlikely to provide and that Uber could have used sooner. Changes are easier when a company is smaller and more nimble. Instead, Uber learned only in recent days that the market isn’t as enamoured with it as it believed. Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter in Uber’s initial public offering (IPO), suggested last year that the ride-hailing company could be worth as much as $120bn. By that yardstick, Uber must have viewed the $75.5bn  valuation at its IPO as a fire sale, but it turns out...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now