In a shock to absolutely no one, food delivery service
Postmates has
its initial public offering due to market conditions. 

“The reality is that we will IPO when we believe we find the
right time for the business and the right time in the markets. And if you look
at the markets right now, they are, I believe, a little choppy,” Lehmann said
at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference
. “They’re a little choppy when it
comes to growth companies specifically.”

Allow me to define “a little choppy.” Lehmann looked around
and saw a scary number of wounded unicorns. Uber and Lyft had their valuations
slashed in half. Peloton and Slack have performed less than stellarly after
going public this year. And of course, there’s WeWork, which just pulled its IPO
in a swift move that seemed to signal: “Nah, we’re good.”

And then the tweets came. *Cue ominous music* “The
rest of the world does not
believe in Silicon Valley as much as Silicon Valley believes in itself
“Is there something
sinister around the corner?
” “The latest sign that Wall
Street is screwing with startups’ hopes and dreams

Does the news really signal something bigger about the
market or is it just Postmates being Postmates? Under normal circumstances,
yes, the IPO delay would be a shocker. But have you met Postmates? It’s not in
the least bit surprising because we’ve seen it all with this company — the IPO
rumors, the fundraising rumors, and of course, the rumors that Postmates will
sell, causing CEO Bastian Lehmann to dismiss them as idle gossip, saying:
“People talk so much shit about us at the barber shop, they forget to get a
haircut.” It’s so prevalent that Lehmann had to shut down more
sale speculators just yesterday.

No person or business has ever toyed with my emotions the
way Postmates has, and the latest news is nothing out of the ordinary. Every
time I think Postmates is about to go public, it just raises hundreds of
millions of dollars instead. In September, it raised $300 million and Lehmann told me,
“We have a beautiful path to an IPO in 2019.” And then, it raised $100
million more in January
! It filed for an
IPO in February
. And then, it raised an additional $225 million from GPI
Capital at a valuation of $2.4 billion!

To confuse us even more, Lehmann attempted to re-define the
word “delay” with this
: “Business is booming — that’s all I will say. Plus, however the
press spins it, we didn’t delay anything! We’re simply waiting for the best
time to get out.”

So they didn’t delay, but they are waiting. See what
I mean? 

Anyway, my question is: At what point do we stop blaming
market conditions and start blaming the business model? It appears public
market investors are losing patience with fast-growing startups make their
public debut with S-1s
that warn
: “We expect our operating expenses to increase significantly in
the foreseeable future, and we may not achieve profitability.”

The average IPO return for 2019 has dropped to 6%, down from
30% at the end of June, and recent deals suggest that public market investors
have become much more selective about which money-losing companies to back.

My prediction? Growth at all costs is over. The next hot
startup trend will be “a pivot
to profit

PEOPLE MOVES: Julie Yoo joined Andreessen Horowitz as
the firm’s newest general partner. Yoo will work on the bio fund with a focus
on healthcare technology. “Nearly every industry has been digitized, but
healthcare is the one place where we still have to pick up the phone and wait,”
she told Term Sheet. “We’re at a tipping point.” Yoo previously co-founded
Kyruus, a Boston-based developer of a routing and scheduling platform for
hospital systems.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here