Backblaze’s IPO a test for smaller tech concerns

How open is the IPO market for non-unicorns?

When Backblaze first filed to go public, TechCrunch found it a compelling company. With a central core of content to help power customer acquisition and a huge swath of customers, it was an interesting cloud storage play. But when it came to pricing, we had little idea of how to value the company.

Since it was smaller in revenue terms than most tech companies going public these days, we deferred on judging its worth until Backblaze itself provided some guidance. And it has, namely an S-1/A filing indicating that the company expects to price its IPO between $15 and $17 per share.

At its IPO price range and 28,545,893 shares expected to be outstanding after its IPO, Backblaze is worth $428.2 million to $485.3 million. Notably the company’s fully diluted valuation is quite a bit higher, with Renaissance Capital reporting that at $16 per share, Backblaze’s valuation inclusive of shares that have been earned, if not yet exercised via options or similar, to be $644 million.

Quick extrapolation indicates that at the top end of its price range, Backblaze’s IPO could value the storage firm at $684.3 million.

That means that Backblaze is going public as a non-unicorn. Which is notable given the sheer heft of many tech companies we’ve seen go public lately. Indeed, even some of the smaller or less traditional companies that we’ve seen debut in recent quarters have had valuations north of $1 billion.

The examples roll from memory: Robinhood was worth dozens of billions when it went public; Coinbase was as well when it direct listed; NerdWallet is going to be a public unicorn merely on the strength of the written word; and AllBirds? More like AllUnicorn. You get the idea.

Which makes Backblaze nearly unique from our perspective. Its IPO is a harkening back to the time when it was somewhat difficult to convince private-market investors to value your company in the nine-figures, let alone 10. And when double-digit multiples applied to profit and not revenue. So, color us more than curious.

But before we sign off, we have new numbers from Backblaze that give us a nibble at its Q3 results. Let’s take a look.