Cuban: “Just plain stupid” to not go public

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban spoke on stage at the Upfront Summit in Los Angeles on Thursday, where he voiced concern about the lack of tech IPOs recently.

I don’t understand the reticence to going public,” he said. “It’s just plain stupid.”

After a slow 2016, there have yet to be any tech IPOs in 2017. AppDynamics was supposed to debut in January and reopen the “window,” but it was acquired by Cisco in the 11th hour.  “That’s bad for everybody,” Cuban said, implying that the acquisition was negative for the economy.

Cuban said that Instagram, Oculus and Twitch could have been better off as separate public companies. “They’d be much more in the public conscience” if they were on the stock market, he said.

All eyes will be on Snap, when it is expected to go public in early March. If it performs well, then it could be a bellwether that will lead to other tech IPOs.

Since Snap is based in Los Angeles, Cuban voiced the conventional wisdom that it could ultimately be good for the overall tech community there. If more companies outside of Silicon Valley start to go public, it will “shift the balance of power very quickly.”

In general, he was most passionate about tech investments outside of Northern California. “The number of San Francisco investments I’ve made has dropped by 90%.”

Cuban said he likes to look at startups in regions where there are top universities. “Anywhere where there’s a good school there’s going to be a great student.”

He’s particularly enthusiastic about artificial intelligence right now and said that he increasingly focuses on companies that have an eye on making a profit someday. “At some point you have to make money.”