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Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs?

The number of companies floating on the London Stock Exchange grew last year and more are expected in 2018.

By James Nunns

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

According to reports from Sky News, the UK-based P2P lender Funding Circle has begun lining up advisors for a stock market flotation that could see the company valued at as much as £2bn.

Sources told the news organisation that the peer-to-peer lending platform is lining up a beauty parade for the end of the first quarter, with a listing perhaps coming towards the end of Autumn. Funding Circle IPO

Founded in 2010, Funding Circle is the UK’s largest P2P lending platform, with more than $5bn worth of loans facilitated through the site since its inception.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

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Set up by Samir Desai, Sam Hodges, and James Meekings, Funding Circle is said to be expected to hire a syndicate of investment banks by the Spring in order to steer the flotation.

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2017 was a reasonable year for IPOs, with 174 compared to 112 in 2016, although still below the high levels seen in 2013 and 2014, there was seen to be some hope of a sustained recovery.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

“Despite the debates about Brexit, London’s highly global, deep and liquid capital markets continue to be the ideal partner for funding the world’s growth. It is particularly significant that the number of international listings in London is up; with North American listings up nearly seven-fold on last year.

“We also continue to be at the forefront of innovative global finance, listing more REITS and funds than anywhere else in the world and financing the global shift to a low carbon economy, with the number of green bonds issued and money raised up by two-thirds on 2016.”

Although Lyft, Uber & Airbnb have all long been linked with IPOs, 2018 isn’t expected to see these names pop up. Other tech companies that are expected to IPO are DocuSign, and Xiaomi, with Dropbox linked to an IPO but denying one, and Spotify AB going for a direct listing, meaning that it won’t raise any money.

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