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Airbnb and DoorDash are losing lots of money but it may be the perfect recipe for huge IPO-day stock price gains

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
In this article:
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The data shows that at least this year, it doesn’t matter if you are an unproven, buzzy tech company such as Airbnb (ANBN), C3.ai (AI) and DoorDash (DASH) losing large sums of money come IPO day. The broader market is so frothy right now, investors appear willing to gobble up anything that may eke out a profit in five years.

There have been 88 IPOs over the past year of companies that have had net losses on their debut day, according to data from SunDial Capital Research. That exceeds all other rolling one-year periods, save for the peak of the tech boom in 2000. Despite the alarming losses and no indications of medium-term profits in most cases, investors have totally shrugged it off (see chart below).

No profits? Who cares, investors this year have said.
No profits? Who cares, investors this year have said.

“By most others, though, the current appetite of IPOs, which are overwhelmingly losing money with no evidence of being going concerns, and which have the shortest track records in 35 years, is extremely concerning. When bankers can feed investor appetites to this degree, and the only concern seems to be finding the next candidate to feed them, investors as a whole have a strong tendency to suffer in the months ahead,” writes the folks at SunDial Capital Research.

The lack of caring in profits on the part of investors looking to cash in on pure 2020 IPO mania has certainly continued this week.

Airbnb finally opened for trading Thursday at $146 a share, dusting the initial public offering price of $68. The opening trade on Airbnb valued the company at $101.6 billion. The lodging outfit has posted $2.1 billion in cumulative losses since its creation in 2008. It reported $697 million in losses through the first nine months ended Sept. 30. Sustainable profits are nowhere in sight at Airbnb.

It’s a similar situation for DoorDash and C3.ai.

DoorDash shares rose about 80% on its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday. While the stock has lost about 14% since its debut day, DoorDash’s market cap still sits at a hefty $65.5 billion. The company has lost $149 million through the first nine months of 2020.

As for C3.ai, coming into Friday’s session the stock had gained 210% in its first two days of trading. The market cap stands at about $12 billion currently. The company lost $69.4 million in its latest fiscal year. Billionaire Tom Siebel — C3.ai’s well-known CEO — told Yahoo Finance Live this week top line growth is likely to slow moving forward. That could mean even higher losses than those seen in the company’s recent fiscal year.

Investors yawned. But given the data, that’s hardly unsurprising.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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