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UnicornThe market for initial public offerings softened in the first quarter, with a new report from Renaissance Capital indicating that the number of IPOs hit a two-year low. Just 34 companies conducted IPOs during the quarter, raising $5.4 billion. Big names making the leap included Box, GoDaddy and Shake Shack.

What’s happening here? You may call it the unicorn effect.

Unicorns, privately-held technology companies like Uber, Airbnb, Slack, Snapchat and Pinterest, have raised big piles of cash at astronomical valuations of more than $1 billion. And those companies are having an impact on the flow of companies into the public markets.

“Technology IPO issuance was likely dampened by the widespread availability of private funding at very high valuations, which produced little urgency for companies to seek IPO capital,” noted the Renaissance Capital report.

According to CB Insights, there are now 53 U.S. tech companies valued at more than $1 billion.

In the Seattle area, the IPO pipeline is relatively soft. Companies such as DocuSign and Redfin have been discussed as possible candidates, but have yet to publicly file documents with the SEC. Last year, three Washington state biotechnology companies — Alder BioPharmaceuticals, Juno Therapeutics and Immune Design — went public.

Here’s a look at the trend for IPOs in the U.S. from Renaissance Capital.


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