There was a time not too long ago when it was actually a good thing to get in on technology IPOs.
It wasn't easy. Underwriters only had enough new shares to pass on to their best clients and large institutional investors. After a year of sampling debutante roadkill, demand is toast. There should be no shortage of takers when Facebook, Groupon, and Zynga dive in, but most tech companies realize that the climate isn't right to go public.
The IPO Dashboard blog took a look over the weekend at the two dozen technology companies that have dared to go public over the past year. Only a third of the stocks are still trading above their IPO price, with the average tech rookie declining by nearly 20% from the starting lines that underwriters established.
I'm not as gloomy as Mr. Market. I like a lot of the companies that have gone public over the past year, and see the bearish response as an opportunity.
Let me go over five busted IPOs -- tech companies that can now be had for less than their original IPO prices -- that I think have better days ahead.
Boingo Wireless (NAS: WIFI)
Jiayuan.com (NAS: DATE)
Pandora Media (NYS: P)
Renren (NYS: RENN)
Yandex (NAS: YNDX)
Scoring the rookies
Boingo Wireless provides hot spots in more than 325,000 locations worldwide. From airports to hotels to retail establishments, Boingo keeps Web-savvy consumers connected. It's true that mobile hot spots, smartphone tethering, and 3G laptops and tablets are making it easier to go online while on the go, but with the two leading wireless carriers no longer selling unlimited data plans to new customers, a lot of Web-hungry users are turning to Boingo. Folks also expect to have Internet access wherever they go, forcing more businesses to turn to Boingo as a hot spot outfitter.
Business is growing at Boingo. Revenue climbed 13% in its latest quarter, and adjusted EBITDA grew more than twice as quickly. Boingo's guidance for the third quarter indicates sequential growth for the period that just ended.
Jiayuan operates China's most popular online dating site. There's no lack of user interest in the site that's free to use but charges members to send messages to one another. Revenue soared 121% in its latest quarter.
The market has turned on Chinese online companies in recent months, fearful that the government is getting ready to curb cyberspace's open nature. As an online dating website in a culture tied to traditional values, it's easy to see why Jiayuan's stock has been one of the bigger casualties. I see this as an opportunity, though, because who doesn't want a larger pool of potential suitors?
Pandora's already started to bounce back since slipping into the single digits last month. The music-discovery site is a growing streaming sensation. Revenue more than doubled in its latest quarter, with Pandora serving up 1.8 billion listener hours of content during the three-month period.
Pandora is making inroads with automakers, providing smartphone owners with seamless access to Pandora through the audio systems of some of the hottest 2012 model cars.
Going public at $14 with 400 million American depositary shares outstanding five months ago was Renren's biggest mistake. China's leading social networking website wasn't worth its $5.6 billion market cap. It now fetches a more reasonable $2 billion price tag. Revenue climbed 53% in its latest quarter,
Finally, we have Yandex. Russia's leading search engine finally succumbed to the market's bearish forces two weeks ago, joining the ranks of busted IPOs after delivering disappointing guidance and conceding that market share had slipped in recent months.
Maybe it's just me, but I can still get behind a country-specific search giant that still commands more than three-fifths of a country's search and is forecasting top-line growth of as much as 60%.
Things will get better
All five companies continue to grow, even as their share prices contract. The market will eventually come around. Growth ultimately gets rewarded. It won't happen overnight, and vindication won't come for all five companies. However, it's a basket of stocks that I don't mind getting behind -- and I have gone on to give them all thumbs-up ratings in Motley Fool CAPS.
Better luck as sophomores.
If you want to track these IPOs, add them to My Watchlist.
AddYandexto My Watchlist.
AddBoingo Wirelessto My Watchlist.
AddRenrento My Watchlist.
AddPandora Mediato My Watchlist.
AddJiayuan.com Internationalto My Watchlist.
At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Jiayuan.com International. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Jiayuan.com International. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.