November 30, 2021

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The 20 best-performing IPOs of the past three years have returned up to 1,477%

6 min read

These are exciting times for active money managers: The number of publicly traded companies is increasing, reversing a long-term trend. This is happening because more companies are being brought to market through initial public offerings (IPOs).

And buying shares through an IPO can translate into big returns, as this list (below) of the best-performing stocks that have gone public over the past three years shows. It excludes blank-check companies, including the ones known as SPACs.

Just how big is the boom? There have been 591 IPOs in the U.S. and Canada so far this year, including SPACs, following 630 in 2020, according to data provider FactSet. That 18-month total of 1,221 IPOs compares to 1,535 for the previous five years through the end of 2019.

The number of publicly traded companies had been declining for years, in part because corporate managers didn’t want to be burdened by the complex reporting and disclosure requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, according to Brad Lamensdorf, CEO of investment adviser ActiveAlts.

But now, with strong overall performance in the stock market, new interest among individual investors and elevated IPO activity, he sees more opportunities for professional traders and money managers to gain an edge over index funds and ETFs.

Best-performing IPOs in the U.S. and Canada

To show a list of best-performing IPOs, we set parameters for data compiled by FactSet. Blank-check companies, including special-purpose acquisition companies, were excluded. A SPAC typically is designed to effect a transformational merger within two years of its formation. The merger will circumvent the typical regulated IPO process. The typical SPAC goes public at a price of $10 a share and trades around that price until a merger deal is announced. The best-known examples of these include Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc.
SPCE,
DraftKings Inc.
DKNG
and Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd.
PSTH.

Excluding blank-check companies, there have been 952 IPOs on U.S. or Canadian stock exchanges over the past three years — regardless of where the companies are based. Among those, 74 no longer exist because they were either acquired or delisted. That leaves 878, of which 584 have market capitalizations of at least $200 million, the minimum value set for this list to avoid thinly traded companies.

These 20 are the best-performing IPOs over the past three years from that list:

Company

Ticker

IPO date

IPO price

Total return from offering date

Market cap. ($mil)

BioNTech SE

BNTX 10/1/2019

$15.00

1477%

$57,117

Very Good Butchers Inc.

CA:VERY 1/10/2020

$0.19

1411%

$268

Annovis Bio Inc.

ANVS 1/28/2020

$6.00

1304%

$670

Shockwave Medical Inc.

SWAV 3/6/2019

$17.00

1045%

$6,807

Fiverr International Ltd.

FVRR 6/13/2019

$21.00

1000%

$8,279

Zoom Video Communications Inc.

ZM 4/17/2019

$36.00

941%

$88,710

SiTime Corp.

SITM 11/20/2019

$13.00

883%

$2,408

Moderna Inc.

MRNA 12/7/2018

$23.00

862%

$88,882

New Found Gold Corp.

CA:NFG 7/31/2020

$0.97

797%

$1,429

Kodiak Sciences Inc.

KOD 10/3/2018

$10.00

752%

$4,365

Twist Bioscience Corp.

TWST 10/31/2018

$14.00

749%

$5,808

Bill.com Holdings Inc.

BILL 12/12/2019

$22.00

748%

$15,526

Karuna Therapeutics Inc.

KRTX 6/27/2019

$16.00

719%

$3,859

Silvergate Capital Corp.

SI 11/6/2019

$12.00

706%

$2,451

CrowdStrike Holdings Inc.

CRWD 6/12/2019

$34.00

655%

$51,128

E Home Household Service Holdings Ltd.

EJH 5/14/2021

$4.50

650%

$1,133

Nio Inc.

NIO 9/11/2018

$6.26

604%

$60,052

Cloudflare Inc.

NET 9/12/2019

$15.00

584%

$26,285

InMode Ltd.

INMD 8/7/2019

$14.00

576%

$3,614

Dye & Durham Ltd.

CA:DND 7/13/2020

$5.53

569%

$2,768

Source: FactSet

You can click the tickers for more about each company.

The best performer has been BioNTech SE
BNTX,
a German-based biotech company listed on Nasdaq that partnered with Pfizer Inc.
PFE
for the quick development of a COVID-19 vaccine last year. The stock returned 1,477% from its IPO on Oct. 1, 2019 through the close on June 22.

Moderna Inc.
MRNA,
which developed its own coronavirus vaccine, is also on the list, with a total return of 862% since its IPO on Dec. 7, 2018.

Other names on the list that will be familiar to active investors include Zoom Video Communications Inc.
ZM,
CrowdStrike Holdings Inc.
CRWD,
electric-vehicle maker Nio Inc.
NIO
and Cloudflare Inc.
NET.

Here’s a summary of sentiment among Wall Street analysts for the group:

Company

Ticker

Share “buy” ratings

Closing price – June 22

Consensus price target

Implied 12-month upside potential

Number of analysts polled

BioNTech SE

BNTX 31%

$236.49

$186.33

-21%

13

Very Good Butchers Inc.

CA:VERY N/A

$3.75

N/A

N/A

Annovis Bio Inc.

ANVS 100%

$84.25

$45.00

-47%

1

Shockwave Medical Inc.

SWAV 50%

$194.57

$186.00

-4%

6

Fiverr International Ltd.

FVRR 78%

$230.99

$252.33

9%

9

Zoom Video Communications Inc.

ZM 46%

$374.65

$407.00

9%

26

SiTime Corp.

SITM 100%

$127.79

$134.00

5%

6

Moderna Inc.

MRNA 44%

$221.36

$177.00

-20%

18

New Found Gold Corp.

CA:NFG 0%

$11.62

$4.25

-63%

1

Kodiak Sciences Inc.

KOD 45%

$85.15

$121.45

43%

11

Twist Bioscience Corp.

TWST 43%

$118.79

$123.33

4%

7

Bill.com Holdings Holdings Inc.

BILL 69%

$186.61

$177.80

-5%

16

Karuna Therapeutics Inc.

KRTX 92%

$130.99

$161.17

23%

13

Silvergate Capital Corp.

SI 71%

$96.74

$154.29

59%

7

CrowdStrike Holdings Inc.

CRWD 92%

$256.61

$256.91

0%

24

E Home Household Service Holdings Ltd.

EJH N/A

$33.75

N/A

N/A

Nio Inc.

NIO 78%

$44.10

$57.38

30%

18

Cloudflare Inc.

NET 81%

$102.57

$96.20

-6%

16

InMode Ltd.

INMD 100%

$94.63

$97.00

3%

5

Dye & Durham Ltd.

CA:DND 80%

$50.11

$58.90

18%

5

Source: FactSet

The analysts polled by FactSet are on the “sell side,” meaning that they work for brokerage firms, many of which may have provided investment banking services to the same companies. While sell-side analysts work in separate departments from the investment-banking departments, it is rare that their first research note on a newly listed company does not include a bullish rating.

All but four of the companies listed above are covered by at least five analysts. The prices for several have soared so high that they are way above the consensus price targets.

As for the 74 companies that went through direct IPOs over the past three years and no longer exist, here are two examples with two very different fates — either feast or famine:

  • Livongo was acquired by Teladoc Health Inc.
    TDOC
    on Oct. 30. The deal valued Livongo at $18.5 billion in cash and Teladoc stock when it was announced on Aug. 5. From the IPO price of $28 on July 25, 2019 through the final day-end price of $139.77 on Oct. 29, Livongo’s stock soared 399%.

  • Luckin Coffee, which is based in China, went public through a listing on the Nasdaq exchange on May 17, 2019 at a price of $17. The stock moved as high $51.38 in January 2020, before Luckin said in April 2020 that it had inflated its sales figures. The announcement and internal investigation led to the ouster of several of the company’s CEO and other top officers. The stock plunged as low as 95 cents before it was delisted on June 29, 2020. In December, Luckin agreed to settle fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission by paying a $180 million fine.

The largest companies that have gone public over the past three years

The first list, above, leaves out many of the most familiar companies that have gone public through listings in the U.S. over the past three years. Here are the largest 20, sorted by current market capitalization. All are listed on U.S. exchanges.

Company

Ticker

IPO date

IPO price

Total return from offering date

Market cap. ($mil)

Pinduoduo Inc.

PDD 7/25/2018

$19.00

523%

$148,264

Uber Technologies Inc.

UBER 5/9/2019

$45.00

9%

$92,115

Moderna Inc.

MRNA 12/7/2018

$23.00

862%

$88,882

Zoom Video Communications Inc.

ZM 4/17/2019

$36.00

941%

$88,710

Snowflake Inc.

SNOW 9/15/2020

$120.00

108%

$73,822

Coupang Inc.

CPNG 3/10/2021

$35.00

14%

$62,341

Nio Inc.

NIO 9/11/2018

$6.26

604%

$60,052

BioNTech SE

BNTX 10/10/2019

$15.00

1477%

$57,117

DoorDash Inc.

DASH 12/8/2020

$102.00

75%

$52,724

CrowdStrike Holdings Inc.

CRWD 6/12/2019

$34.00

655%

$51,128

Palantir Technologies Inc.

PLTR 9/29/2020

$7.25

250%

$45,853

KE Holdings Inc.

BEKE 8/13/2020

$20.00

148%

$44,369

Pinterest Inc.

PINS 4/17/2019

$19.00

285%

$40,039

Peloton Interactive Inc.

PTON 9/25/2019

$29.00

304%

$31,489

Unity Software Inc.

U 9/17/2020

$52.00

112%

$30,809

Lufax Holding Ltd.

LU 10/30/2020

$13.50

-10%

$29,991

UiPath Inc.

PATH 4/21/2021

$56.00

25%

$29,783

Airbnb Inc.

ABNB 12/9/2020

$68.00

120%

$28,916

Genmab A/S

GMAB 7/17/2019

$17.75

144%

$28,414

Cloudflare Inc.

NET 9/12/2019

$15.00

584%

$26,285

Source: FactSet

The largest company by market cap that has gone public through a traditional IPO in the U.S. over the past three years is Pinduoduo Inc.
PDD,
which bills itself as the largest online grocer in China.

Another name, ride-sharing pioneer Uber Technologies Inc.
UBER,
has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s an analysis comparing Uber to its arch rival Lyft Inc.
LYFT.

Here’s a summary of Wall Street opinion about the group:

Company

Ticker

Share “buy” ratings

Closing price – June 22

Consensus price target

Implied 12-month upside potential

Number of sell-side analysts polled

Pinduoduo Inc.

PDD 69%

$118.30

$163.33

38%

42

Uber Technologies Inc.

UBER 88%

$49.05

$69.91

43%

41

Moderna Inc.

MRNA 44%

$221.36

$177.00

-20%

18

Zoom Video Communications Inc.

ZM 46%

$374.65

$407.00

9%

26

Snowflake Inc.

SNOW 48%

$249.29

$292.54

17%

29

Coupang Inc.

CPNG 29%

$40.02

$43.71

9%

7

Nio Inc.

NIO 78%

$44.10

$57.38

30%

18

BioNTech SE

BNTX 31%

$236.49

$186.33

-21%

13

DoorDash Inc.

DASH 40%

$178.98

$166.79

-7%

20

CrowdStrike Holdings Inc.

CRWD 92%

$256.61

$256.91

0%

24

Palantir Technologies Inc.

PLTR 22%

$25.40

$22.00

-13%

9

KE Holdings Inc.

BEKE 80%

$49.53

$74.67

51%

15

Pinterest Inc.

PINS 57%

$73.16

$83.50

14%

28

Peloton Interactive Inc.

PTON 79%

$117.17

$131.72

12%

29

Unity Software Inc.

U 75%

$110.26

$122.36

11%

12

Lufax Holding Ltd.

LU 72%

$12.18

$17.51

44%

18

UiPath Inc.

PATH 40%

$69.85

$77.37

11%

20

Airbnb Inc.

ABNB 43%

$149.68

$170.93

14%

35

Genmab A/S

GMAB 65%

$43.30

$41.33

-5%

26

Cloudflare Inc.

NET 81%

$102.57

$96.20

-6%

16

Source: FactSet

A hot stock market generally means good times for IPOs, especially for investors whose brokers can help them scoop up the shares at a good price. That can be a tall order on a wild first day of trading.

It’s also very important to know what you are buying. Rather than only considering the popularity of a company’s product or service, and the media hype, you should read its offering filings to form an opinion about the company’s long-term prospects before jumping in.

Don’t miss: Amazon is the world’s most valuable brand, but Alibaba and Facebook have better financials

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