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3 Recent IPOs to Add to Your Watchlist

By Leo Sun – Updated Sep 17, 2020 at 1:09PM

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Snowflake and two other hot tech IPOs have attracted a stampede of bulls, but should investors chase their initial rallies?

The stock market got off to a rough start this year as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses worldwide. But after the markets bottomed out in March, a growing number of companies started going public again -- and the U.S. IPO market could be on track for its best year since 2000.

With so many IPOs hitting the market, it can be tough to keep track of the more promising names. So today, we'll cut through the noise and focus on three recent IPOs that deserve to be on your watchlist.

A businessman touches an icon labeled "IPO".

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Snowflake

Snowflake (SNOW 1.97%), a provider of cloud-based data storage and analytics services, recently raised $3.4 billion to become the largest software IPO in history. It was priced at $120 on Sept. 15, opened at $245 the next day, and ended its first trading day at $253.93, with a market cap of $70.5 billion.

Snowflake initially attracted a lot of attention after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Salesforce acquired big stakes at the offering price. The company's growth rates amplified that excitement: Its revenue rose 174% in fiscal 2020 and grew another 133% year-over-year in the first six months of 2021. Its total number of customers more than doubled year-over-year at the end of July, and it currently serves 146 for the Fortune 500 companies. It ended the first half of 2020 with a net retention rate of 158%.

But Snowflake remains deeply unprofitable. Its net loss widened in 2020, and only narrowed slightly in the first half of 2021. Its payments to cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft, account for a lion's share of its expenses -- which is ironic since both tech giants provide cloud-based database services that compete against Snowflake.

At $70.5 billion, Snowflake trades at 266 times last year's sales. Even if its revenue rises another 130% in fiscal 2021, it would still be trading at 116 times this year's sales. Those nosebleed valuations indicate it's likely premature to chase this high-flying stock -- but investors should keep an eye out for future buying opportunities.

2. JFrog

JFrog (FROG 2.19%), which provides a universal DevOps platform for continually managing and releasing software updates across an organization, priced its IPO at $44 a share on Sept. 15 and raised about $352 million. Its stock opened at $71.27 the next day, then closed at $64.79 with a valuation of $5.7 billion.

An IT professional checks a tablet.

Image source: Getty Images.

Jfrog's revenue rose 65% last year, and grew another 50% year-over-year in the first six months of 2020. It also significantly narrowed its net losses year-over-year during both periods, and it ended the first half of 2020 with a slight loss of $0.4 million from $69.3 million in revenue.

Jfrog served approximately 5,800 organizations at the end of June, up from 5,600 at the end of 2019. Its growing customer list includes 75% of the Fortune 500, and it posted an impressive net retention rate of 139% at the end of the second quarter.

But like Snowflake, JFrog's post-IPO pop made it a pricey stock. At $5.7 billion, it trades at 55 times last year's sales. If JFrog's revenue rises 50% in fiscal 2020, it would still trade at about 36 times this year's sales. JFrog also expects the COVID-19 crisis to slightly reduce its net retention rate as companies suspend their software updates, so it might be prudent to track its progress over the next few quarters before diving in.

3. BigCommerce

BigCommerce (BIGC 2.03%), which competes against Shopify (SHOP 5.39%) and Adobe's (ADBE 1.54%) Magento in the e-commerce services space, priced its IPO at $24 per share on Aug. 5 and raised about $216.5 million.

The stock surged 201% to $72.27 a share on the first trading day, briefly surged above $160 later that month, then dropped back to about $80 -- which still gives it a valuation of about $5.7 billion. BigCommerce's revenue rose 22% in 2019 and grew 32% year-over-year to $69.5 million in the first half of 2020. Its net loss widened in 2019 but narrowed year-over-year to $16.2 million in the first half of 2020.

Those impressive growth rates drew favorable comparisons to Shopify, which rallied nearly 640% over the past three years. However, BigCommerce remains an underdog compared to Shopify and Adobe's Magento, and it's unclear if it can keep pace with those larger rivals over the long term.

Its stock is also richly valued at 48 times last year's sales. Assuming its revenue rises 30% in 2020, BigCommerce would still trade at 37 times this year's sales. By comparison, analysts expect Shopify's revenue to rise 61% this year, and its stock trades at 41 times that estimate. Therefore, investors should keep an eye on BigCommerce over the next few quarters before assuming it will generate Shopify-like returns. But if it holds steady, it could be an appealing alternative to Shopify for growth-oriented investors.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Leo Sun owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Adobe Systems, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), Microsoft,, and Shopify and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft, short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft, short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, and short September 2020 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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