2019 was a terrific year for the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by more than 22% and the S&P 500 went up nearly 29%. But even as a broad range of businesses fared well in 2019, the market for private companies going public proved to be punishing, particularly for the best-known startups.
Some of the most highly anticipated IPOs failed to live up to their expectations, including tech darlings like Lyft and Uber. In total, the 159 companies that went public last year raised $33 billion, a figure down nearly 30% from 2018.
A growing number of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are now deciding whether or not there's something wrong with the IPO market, given that these IPOs are proving to be more and more inhospitable. These IPO skeptics are now looking to popularize an alternative avenue for taking companies public via direct listings, which consists of selling existing shares rather than issuing new ones.
Business and financial software company Intuit confirmed it's acquiring personal finance company Credit Karmafor $7.1 billion in cash and stock. Under the deal, Credit Karma reportedly will continue to function as a standalone business, with CEO Kenneth Lin remaining in charge.
Udemy, a global marketplace for online teaching and learning, has raised $50 million from its long-time partner in Japan, Benesse Holdings. The investment values the company at $2 billion. Udemy has more than 50 million students and 57,000 instructors teaching courses in over 65 languages.
HeadSpin, a company that ensures connected experiences enabled by web, mobile, IoT, and 5G, raised $60m in Series C funding at $1.16 billion valuation. The funding was led by Dell Technologies Capital and ICONIQ Capital. HeadSpin expects to exceed annual recurring revenue of $100 million in early 2020.
Comcast announced that it has acquired Xumo, a free advertising-supported streaming service, from previous owners Panasonic and Meredith Corp. Financial terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed, though sources say Comcast paid more than $100 million.
Autonomous driving firm Pony.ai has raised around $500 million led by Japan's largest automaker Toyota Motor Corp at a $3 billion valuation. Pony.ai has been working with Toyota since 2019 on public autonomous vehicle testing.
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