Another small sign that the worst of the recession may be behind us: IPO registrations are clawing their way back from the shadow of the valley of death (also known as the first quarter if 2009, when there were zero IPOs registered with the SEC). So far in July and August alone there have been 14 IPOs, as many as in the previous three quarters combined. These numbers and the chart above are based on the number of IPO filings tracked by Hoovers as of yesterday. Renaissance Capital counts 16 IPO registrations in July and August, and if you look on the SEC’s Edgar site it looks like a few more filed today.
Registering for an IPO doesn’t mean that the company is actually going to go through with it, but the volume of filings is a good confidence index for startups. Most of the companies filing are not technology-related (Hyatt Hotels, RailAmerica, Bayview Mortgage Capital), although Ancestry.com did file on August 3. In terms of actual IPOs, we saw five venture-backed companies start trading in the second quarter, including OpenTable, which is still trading above its $20 offering price.
All this means is that more companies are willing to take a shot at going public, which is encouraging in and of itself. But don’t expect the actual number of IPOs to recover for at least another year.