The Download: Cvent, Intrexon filings sign of improving IPO market

Two Washington area companies announced plans to go public last week — yet another sign that firms and their investors see the current stock market as increasingly hospitable to initial public offerings.

McLean-based Cvent hopes to raise as much as $100 million in an initial public offering, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The firm raked in revenue of $83.5 million at the end of 2012, including a net profit of $4.3 million.

Intrexon, a Blacksburg-based biotechnology company, will seek as much as $125 million when it goes public. The firm, which engineers biological products, tallied $13.9 million in revenue at the end of 2012, leading to a net income loss of $81.9 million.

Neither company disclosed a per-share price or how much stock would be sold, and representatives from both declined to comment.

The second quarter saw a flood of companies list on U.S. stock exchanges compared with recent past quarters, according to a report released earlier this month by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

There were a total of 62 IPOs in the second quarter of 2013, the report found. That marks an increase of 82 percent compared to 34 listings in the first quarter of the year and an increase of 88 percent compared to 33 listings in the second quarter of 2012.

The first six months of 2013 saw a combined 96 companies go public, up 23 percent from the 78 companies that went public in the first half of last year, according to the report.

Data show the firms that have gone public this year raised more money as well, $20.9 billion compared to $12 billion in the first half of 2012. The latter figure excludes Facebook’s $16 billion IPO, a significant outlier.

The IPO market took a significant hit during the economic downturn, and to many venture capitalists, has yet to fully recover. The latest string of IPOs — and filings from firms planning to follow suit — indicates the appetite for them may be returning.

Zoomdata funding

Reston-based Zoomdata closed a Series A round of financing worth $4.1 million, the firm announced last week, less than a year after collecting a smaller sum of money from seed-stage investors.

Zoomdata software allows companies to convert large volumes of data into easy-to-understand charts and illustrations.

Menlo Park-based Columbus Nova Technology Partners led the latest round. Other contributors include Razor’s Edge, the Center for Innovative Technology and B7.

Zoomdata will use the money to add engineers, as well as sales and marketing staff, chief executive Justin Langseth said. The company plans to open a Silicon Valley office later this month.

Langseth found the environment for raising capital more strained than in year’s past. More start-ups are seeking Series A investments from fewer firms willing to fund them, he said.

Zoomdata also raised a $1.1 million seed round last November.

“We raised the money in November and reading all those A-round crunch articles and blogs made us think we should go out a little sooner than planned [for the next round],” Langseth said. “We ended up in a really good situation.”

Mentorship

Local entrepreneurs seeking business mentors as they work to get fledgling ventures off the ground have another place to find them.

The Washington, DC Economic Partnership announced the creation last week of the AccelerateDC Venture Mentoring Service, a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that pairs start-ups with a team of mentors.

There are a number of other initiatives already underway in Washington where entrepreneurs can seek assistance. Business incubators and accelerators, such as Acceleprise and Fortify.vc, offer mentors to their portfolio companies.

Similarly, economic development agencies in both Maryland and Virginia offer start-ups and small businesses such services as executive coaching, business plan review and legal consultations.

The M.I.T. program began in Boston 14 years ago and has added 30 satellite programs around the globe since then, said Jerome Smith, co-director of MIT Venture Mentor Service. Mentors and entrepreneurs apply to participate in the program, then must take part in formal meetings and coaching sessions for an indefinite length of time.

Tiffany Thacker, the economic partnership’s director of business attraction, said the program is now seeking 20 to 25 mentors and plans to assist 10 to 12 ventures at first.

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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