Service That Lets You Order Food Naked, GrubLess SeamHub, Quietly Files For IPO

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In May of last year, we broke the news that Seamless and GrubHub — two of the largest players in the online and mobile food delivery space and “arch rivals” — were coming together as part of a blockbuster merger. My, how fast they grow up. Not nine months later, the merged food-ordering giant has begun to take the next step in its development.

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that GrubHub Seamless (really, not “GrubLess”?) has confidentially submitted a filing for what would be their initial public offering. It’s not clear when exactly the company will take their business to the public markets, but WSJ’s report puts it in the first half of this year.

Given what we’ve heard from sources, this sounds about right and would make a lot of sense. After all, both Seamless and GrubHub were rumored to be considering potential IPOs and talking to banks on their own, with reports on GrubHub’s interest in an IPO going as far back as 2012. The merger minted the largest company in the online food delivery space by a long shot, accelerating those efforts.

Together, they have raised $135 million in venture capital, and while the companies have declined to share their current revenue figures, the reports from early last year said that Seamless was projected to do over $100 million in revenue in 2013. Our conversations with sources confirmed those expectations, and our approximate projections put GrubHub’s revenue growth in the same ballpark.

In terms of coverage, the combined organization offers online food ordering and digital menus for over 28,000 restaurants in over 600 cities, as well, according to the latest numbers.

On the one hand, this means that GrubHub Seamless is going to have no problem finding underwriters for its IPO, nor should it require too much friction raising big money leading up to the initial offering. In terms of the IPO market, while it dried up a bit after Facebook’s flop, it’s been heating back up thanks to Twitter et al.

If Chegg had no problem raising $180 million-plus at a billion dollar-plus valuation given the problems it’s had making money and the perceived shriveling of its market, it’s not a stretch to imagine GrubHub Seamless outpacing that. Meaning, although it’s pure speculation at this point, don’t be surprised if the online food ordering company raises over $250 million at a multi-billion-dollar valuation.

On the other hand, this means that, because GrubHub Seamless has less than $1 billion in revenues, under new U.S. securities laws, it can confidentially file for a public offering with regulators.

The company declined to comment on the IPO rumors, but the only thing that’s really in any potential doubt here is the issue of “when.” There’s really little doubt this company is going public at some point in the next 12 months.

Stay tuned for more.