Seattle-based radio frequency identification technology maker Impinj made its long-anticipated debut on the stock market this summer, and it did not disappoint in its rookie year. Since it went public on the Nasdaq in July, shares of Impinj have soared close to 97 percent.
That was enough to make the 17-year-old company the top gainer among technology stocks in Washington state in 2016, outpacing other strong performers such as NanoString Technologies (up 51.6 percent) and F5 Networks (up 49.2 percent).
The biggest drop in 2016? That dubious honor falls to Immune Design, the Seattle-based immunotherapy company whose stock fell 72.6 percent in 2016.
Many of the area’s biggest tech companies performed well in 2016. Microsoft stock reached an all-time high, surging 12 percent under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella who is positioning the company to be a powerhouse in cloud computing. Meanwhile, Amazon posted an 11 percent stock gain in 2016, a significant achievement for a company of its size, but nowhere near its 117 percent explosion in 2015.
And T-Mobile — the Bellevue-based wireless carrier — continued its resurgence under the charismatic John Legere. Its stock soared 47 percent in 2016.
Just a hair over half the companies we tracked gained in 2016: 13 out of 25.
And it was a year of big losses and big gains. Nine of the 13 gainers saw their stocks increase by more than 25 percent on the year, and nine of the 12 companies with a decreasing stock saw drops of more than 25 percent.
The following figures measure stock activity from the first trading day of 2016 until market close on Dec. 30, using Google Finance.
Alder BioPharmaceuticals (ALDR)
The Bothell biotechnology company went public in May of 2014, pricing at $10 per share in the IPO. Alder is working on a rheumatoid arthritis drug, as well as treatments for migraines. Its stock was all over the map this year, cratering in June, spiking in November and then declining to close out the year.
2016 close: $20.80, down 37 percent on the year, $1.05 billion market value.
What didn’t Amazon do in 2016? It opened big new buildings, leased others, teased a new convenience store concept, started building grocery stores, continued its dominance in the cloud computing sector, made its first drone delivery and staked its claim as one of the top television providers. That all happened as the company continues to set new high bars for headcount, and its stock recovered from a tough start to the year, rising 55 percent since February.
2016 close: $749.87, up 11 percent, $349.2 billion market value.
One of the newest entries to the stable of Seattle-area public companies, Apptio debuted on the stock market in September, and investors immediately liked what they saw. Since then, Apptio beat Wall Street expectations in its first public earnings report, though it did post a loss. Going forward, Apptio, a Bellevue-based company that makes software to help CIOs better understand spending in IT departments, aims to break even soon. Apptio CEO Sunny Gupta told GeekWire earlier this year that the best way to do that is by acquiring more customers.
2016 close: $18.53, down 4 percent since September IPO, $684 million market value.
The Bellevue-based company, formerly known as InfoSpace, completed a major strategy shift this year to focus on financial services by divesting InfoSpace and its e-commerce business Monoprice. The company announced plans last month to close its Bellevue office and move to Texas next year. Despite all these changes, Blucora’s stock is up for the year and has more than tripled since its low point in March.
2016 close: $14.75, up 50.5 percent, $599 million market value.
Blue Nile (NILE)
Seattle-based online diamond ring retailer Blue Nile will be off this list next year, as it was acquired by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC for $500 million.
2016 close: $40.63, up 9.4 percent for the year when it was acquired in November for $500 million.
Under the direction of CEO Jerry Chase, Bellevue-based Bsquare continued repositioning to ride the wave around Internet of Things. Its stock shot up and down throughout the year and ended 2016 down slightly.
2016 close: $5.85, down 3.9 percent, $73.4 million market value.
The Seattle supercomputer maker landed a couple big contracts and partnerships and contracts in 2016, but it also took a big loss in the the second quarter of the year. After a promising start to 2016, Cray’s stock lost close to half of its value since May.
2016 close: $20.70, down 36.2 percent, $833 million market value.
Data i/O (DAIO)
Founded in 1972, the Redmond maker of inline production device programmers is one of the oldest tech companies in our list. A strong third quarter helped the company’s stock rise in 2016, nearly doubling since its 2016 low point in March.
2016 close: $4.18, down 65.9 percent, $33.3 million market value.
Expedia celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, and it was another big year for the Bellevue online travel giant. It has begun early construction work on its new Seattle headquarters. One of Expedia’s acquisitions, Trivago, is set to go public and looking to raise $400 million.
2016 close: $113.28, down 8.9 percent. $16.9 billion market value.
F5 Networks (FFIV)
In 2016, F5 continued to sort out its leadership situation as longtime CTO Karl Triebes resigned in September. The company appointed Ryan Kearny, who joined F5 in 1998, previously serving as senior VP of product development, to take over that spot. CEO John McAdam remains at the helm, but he has contemplated retiring and the company’s board has started a search for his replacement.
2016 close: $144.72, up 49.2 percent, $9.4 billion market value.
Though technically not headquartered in Washington state, Google’s presence in the region continues to grow as it announced a huge new office complex in Seattle and opened an expansion of its office in Kirkland in 2016. The company also unveiled a new line of products that includes a new phone, virtual reality headset and smart speaker.
2016 close: $792.45, up 1.9 percent, $538 billion market value.
Immune Design (IMDZ)
The Seattle cancer research company raised $60 million in a July 2014 IPO, pricing shares at $12. The stock started the year well above its IPO price, but lost more than three quarters of its value in 2016.
2016 close: $5.50, down 72.6 percent, $130.2 million market value.
Impinj went public in July, pricing shares at $14. The company’s stock has soared since then and it has recorded consecutive positive earnings reports. Impinj followed its IPO, where it raised $69.2 million with a follow-on offering that netted the company $38.7 million. Impinj could help pave the way for other IPOs from Washington-based companies in 2017. CB Insights recently listed seven possible IPO candidates from Washington: Avalara, Rover, PayScale, Redfin, OfferUp, Avvo, and Inrix. Will these companies be encouraged by Impinj?
2016 close: $35.34, up 96.7 percent (since July), $702.6 million market value.
Juno Therapeutics (JUNO)
It was a mixed year for the Seattle biotech company, which went public in 2014. One of the company’s immunotherapy clinical trials was put on hold, once by the FDA and once by Juno itself, after several patients died. On the other hand, another immunotherapy led to 60 percent of the trial’s lymphoma patients going into remission. Juno stock has dropped significantly since the summer.
2016 close: $18.85, down 57.1 percent, $2 billion market value.
It was another tough year for the Seattle online advertising analytics company in 2016. Both CEO Pete Christothoulou and Board Chairman Clark Kokich resigned from the company in October. In August, the company laid off 10 percent of its 375-person staff after missing earnings expectations in the second quarter.
2016 close: $2.65, down 31.9 percent, $112.7 million market value.
Microsoft stock hit in all-time high in 2016, Satya Nadella’s third year as CEO. Microsoft completed its largest acquisition ever, the $26.2 billion purchase of business social network LinkedIn. It also formed a new 5,000-person engineering and research team to focus on artificial intelligence products — a major reshaping of the company’s internal structure, reminiscent of its massive pivot to pursue the opportunity of the Internet in the mid-1990s. Microsoft shareholders will be closely watching to see if Nadella can keep the turnaround going in 2017.
2016 close: $62.14, up 12 percent, $477.3 billion market value.
The Redmond-based maker of display technology this year didn’t live up to its solid performance on Wall Street in 2015.
2016 close: $1.26, down 55.9 percent, $89.3 million market value.
NanoString Technologies (NSTG)
The Seattle maker of genetic research tools was relatively flat in the stock market in 2015, but the stock soared in the latter half of 2016. NanoString went public in early 2013 at $10 per share, so those who bought in the beginning and held firm have more than doubled their money.
2016 close: $22.30, up 51.6 percent, $464.6 million market value.
Seattle-based biotech company PhaseRx was the first Washington state company to go public in more than a year when it hit the market back in May. PhaseRx priced its stock at $5 per share, and after an initial bump the price began to decline in the second half of the year.
2016 Close: $1.55, down 69.1 percent (since May), $19.6 million market value
The maker of the Redbox and Coinstar kiosks was acquired by private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $52 per share in cash in July, taking it off the stock market. As part of the deal, Outerwall’s CEO Erik Prusch left the company and its three core businesses split into separate enterprises, each with its own leadership structure.
2016 close: $52 when it was acquired in July, up 42.3 percent for the year, $895.6 million market value.
The Seattle streaming media pioneer took a big loss in 2015 and continued that trend in the early part of this year. In April, Real announced a reorganization of the corporate staff, which included promotions of several execs and, perhaps most importantly, the addition of new CTO Reza Rassool, a startup veteran who previously worked with companies such as DirectTV, CBS and Panasonic. The market responded in the second half of the year, as Real’s stock climbed steadily. But the question remains: Can founder Rob Glaser reinvent RealNetworks?
2016 close: $4.86, up 14.4 percent. $177.1 million market value.
Seattle Genetics (SGEN)
Shares of Bothell-based Seattle Genetics fell nearly 15 percent last week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed clinical holds on its SGN-CD33A therapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) following the deaths of four patients. The company’s stock is still up for the year.
Earlier in the year, Seattle Genetics and Tokyo-based Takeda Oncology announced a successful phase of a clinical trial of Adcetris, an antibody drug conjugate that treats lymphoma, a cancer of white blood cells.
2016 close: $52.77, up 17.58 percent, $7.4 billion market value.
Tableau Software (DATA)
This year was a mixed bag for Tableau Software. A disappointing earnings report at the beginning of 2016 sunk Tableau’s stock, dropping the share price by more than 50 percent. The stock has yet to recover. The company also cut back on ambitious plans to hire as many as 1,000 new employees and reportedly explored a sale. On the other hand, Tableau brought in Amazon Web Services executive Adam Selipsky to be the company’s new CEO, and he is already making his presence felt.
2016 close: $42.15, down 55.2 percent, $3.2 billion market value.
T-Mobile continued to make waves in the telecommunications industry, announcing plans to shift to a single wireless plan, called T-Mobile One, offering unlimited data. Though it turned out to not be totally unlimited. T-Mobile also introduced a new way to use phone numbers across multiple devices, and it is teasing a major announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Wall Street likes what it sees in the mobile maverick as T-Mobile stock has risen consistently throughout 2016.
2016 close: $57.51, up 47 percent, $47.4 billion market value.
Zillow Group (ZG)
Zillow reached a $130 million settlement to resolve a legal dispute that once threatened to impose as much as $2 billion in damages against the Seattle-based real estate media giant. Legal costs hurt the company’s balance sheet in the short term, but Zillow responded with record profit in the third quarter, and its stock saw significant growth in 2016.
2016 close: $36.45, up 40 percent, $2 billion market value.