IPOs: Waiting for a Tech Unicorn

Just over a decade ago, investors with a penchant for luxury goods were reeling over the slew of IPOs that rocked the markets – family-run businesses like Salvatore Ferragamo and Prada among them, following in the steps of Bulgari and Tod’s.
That all changed after the financial crisis. Today, trade woes, weak EU banks, Italy’s bad debt crisis, and political malaise continue to toss cold water on any hope of renewing the IPO fever that once riled Milan’s FTSE Mib and Paris’ CAC Indexes.
For analysts, the real problem isn’t the banks and it’s not the looming threat of yet another recession or the trade crisis, it’s the dearth of tech and online companies that have what it takes to survive the headwinds ahead.
“I guess one reason is that quite a number of these IPOs are at the intersection of technology and the internet, where Europe is two or three steps behind the USA. European IPOs are still ‘old economy’ in luxury goods on this side of the ocean… like Watches of Switzerland, for example,” said Luca Solca, Senior Research Analyst, Luxury Goods at Bernstein.
By comparison, in the US, markets are still reeling from digital commerce IPOs that soared on their market debuts in 2018 and earlier this year.
Secondhand luxury retailer the RealReal, which debuted on Nasdaq this summer, raised $300 million and surged 50% on opening day. London-based Farfetch, which recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange, hit a valuation of about $6.2 billion. On a side note, Farfetch is facing multiple class-action lawsuits alleging it had misled investors during its IPO. Levi Strauss & Co., Kontoor Brands, and Revolve Group all joined the public markets over the past year. JCrew’s savvy Madewell unit is also the next market hopeful.

According to financial market platform Dealogic, 2018 was, without doubt, a tough year for Europe. “A range of macroeconomic uncertainties affected both investors’ and corporates’ sentiment. EMEA IPO levels dropped 97% to $475 million in proceeds and 65% to 22 IPOs in activity compared to the same period last year.”

Macroeconomic factors will continue to impact IPOs across the board over the next year, said Dealogic in a note published earlier this year.

In Europe, there are some small glimmers of hope. Vestiaire Collective, a Paris-based social commerce platform, recently completed a 40 million euro round of financing led by Bpifrance and Chief Executive Max Bittner, as the company focuses on enhancing its tech features, as well as the Asia and Middle Eastern expansions. There has been no real talk of an IPO, at this stage. In Italy, the situation is lacklustre at best. IPOs on the horizon are smaller in terms of scale. Accessible luxury brand Elisabetta Franchi is shooting to list in early 2020 on the AIM segment for small caps of the Italian Stock Exchange. Missoni, whose Vice President Michele Norsa was a crucial figure in the listings of the Valentino Fashion Group and Salvatore Ferragamo, told WWD earlier this year, the company might list in 2023. Missoni, which booked 150 million euros in revenues last year, sold 41.2 percent stake to FSI Midmarket Growth Equity Fund for 70 million euros in 2018 to fuel its expansion.
As the gap between the worlds of science, tech, and fashion continues to narrow, some smaller players might emerge onto the international scene over the next decade, investors say.
“I think that creating a successful company is just hard. Maybe today it is easier to start one, but this creates much more competition on the market, so only the strongest survive,” said Fashion Technology Accelerator CEO Giusy Cannone, who added the next companies to make an impact are those invested in artificial intelligence, smart information, GEO price monitoring, merchandising optimization, customer behavior analysis, and those invested in data supporting creative processes. “It all boils down to  market entry. Some innovations come to market too early and the market is not necessarily ready to accept them yet. Look at the rental market for instance: in the US, Rent the Runaway has become a unicorn; in Europe the rental market is still very very small with no dominant players yet,” Cannone said.
SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
Issey Miyake Releases Exclusive Documentary
By Alice Ierace
Issey Miyake released an unpublished docu-film that shows the birth and evolution of the...
By Alice Ierace
Issey Miyake released an unpublished docu-film that shows the birth and evolution of the collection Homme Plissé Issey Miyake and shares a message of freedom, movement and comfort as new codes for men's clothing.Opening with a scene from Flying Bodies, a video that captures the 2013 performance...
Issey Miyake released an unpublished docu-film that shows the birth and evolution of the collection Homme Plissé Issey Miyake and shares a message of freedom, movement and comfort as new codes for men's clothing.Opening with a scene from Flying Bodies, a video that captures the 2013 performance of the Aomori University Men's Rhythmic Gymnastics Team which marks the debut of the collection, the...
OP-Ed: Is Voice Technology the Future of Retail?
By Elisa Carassai
Will the voice-operated assistant change the way we...
By Elisa Carassai
Will the voice-operated assistant change the way we shop?   The first time I came across Amazon’s Alexa, I was amazed by the fact that a voice-operated assistant could work so well. Having Siri on my iPhone, I had never really made use of the...
Will the voice-operated assistant change the way we shop?   The first time I came across Amazon’s Alexa, I was amazed by the fact that a voice-operated assistant could work so well. Having Siri on my iPhone, I had never really made use of the voice-operated system integrated inside my phone, as it would often fail to correctly execute my...
Cult Scandi Brand Cecilie Bahnsen Debuts Shoe Collection With Charles Keith
By Elisa Carassai
Joining forces this week are designers Charles & Keith and Cecile Bahnsen, who collaborated on an...
By Elisa Carassai
Joining forces this week are designers Charles & Keith and Cecile Bahnsen, who collaborated on an exciting shoe line inspired by traditional school-wear. The collection features some of the most classic Charles & Keith shapes and silhouettes which are reinterpreted by Bahnsen and finished with...
Joining forces this week are designers Charles & Keith and Cecile Bahnsen, who collaborated on an exciting shoe line inspired by traditional school-wear. The collection features some of the most classic Charles & Keith shapes and silhouettes which are reinterpreted by Bahnsen and finished with her signature brooch. Four various styles are featured including three Mary Jane designs and a...
Five CBD Brands That Are Doing it Right
By Ludovica Parisi
CBD is being marketed everywhere. From oils and topicals to edibles, there are now infinite ways...
By Ludovica Parisi
CBD is being marketed everywhere. From oils and topicals to edibles, there are now infinite ways to introduce cannabidiols in your lifestyle. However, as buyers get overwhelmed by the number of products being launched every week, companies have to work harder to stand out from the competition....
CBD is being marketed everywhere. From oils and topicals to edibles, there are now infinite ways to introduce cannabidiols in your lifestyle. However, as buyers get overwhelmed by the number of products being launched every week, companies have to work harder to stand out from the competition. So, what is the strategic approach to ensure people’s trust in a product? The answer lies in the...
Cuoio di Toscana Launches Campaign Against Domestic Violence
By Alice Ierace
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion...
By Alice Ierace
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion and luxury leather goods, shared their the commitment to defend women. “Violence against women does not go into quarantine: at the expense of the current moment of emergency, the numbers affecting...
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion and luxury leather goods, shared their the commitment to defend women. “Violence against women does not go into quarantine: at the expense of the current moment of emergency, the numbers affecting this social injury show no sign of diminishing and, if we consider the case of domestic violence in...
Burberry Reports Significant Revenue Loss
By Rebecca Hitchon
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year...
By Rebecca Hitchon
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year ending 28th March, revealing the impact of COVID-19 on the business.Although the report discusses positive responses to its SS20 and AW20 collections and sales higher than expected earlier in the...
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year ending 28th March, revealing the impact of COVID-19 on the business.Although the report discusses positive responses to its SS20 and AW20 collections and sales higher than expected earlier in the year, the outbreak of COVID-19 in late January negatively affected the financial year. Store closures,...
Meryll Rogge’s Last Days of Disco
By Elisa Carassai
New York has always been a source of inspiration for...
By Elisa Carassai
New York has always been a source of inspiration for creatives. From writers, to artists, poets and designers, the city that never sleeps always seems to provide the right canvas for the creation of the most exciting ventures.   One of these...
New York has always been a source of inspiration for creatives. From writers, to artists, poets and designers, the city that never sleeps always seems to provide the right canvas for the creation of the most exciting ventures.   One of these creatives is 35-year-old Meryll Rogge. A former student of Walter Van Beirendock at Antwerp’s Academy...
Hindsight: Yale Photography On Sexuality and Mundanity
By Sasha Regazzoni
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or...
By Sasha Regazzoni
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or a volcano or … ? What is pleasure without climax? Can there be art without ego?”   In the opening essay of ‘Hindsight’, Yale School of Art’s 2020 MFA Photography graduate show which...
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or a volcano or … ? What is pleasure without climax? Can there be art without ego?”   In the opening essay of ‘Hindsight’, Yale School of Art’s 2020 MFA Photography graduate show which launched last week, writer and visual artist Carmen Winant poses a series of “Questions for...