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5 Hot IPO Possibilities for 2012

The tech sector offers some exciting prospects


Best of 2011 20122011 has been a bountiful year for social media IPOs. Some of the deals we saw included Pandora (NYSE:P), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Angie’s List (NASDAQ:ANGI) and Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN). But what hot offerings might we see in 2012?

The most obvious one, of course, is Facebook. According to a November piece in The Wall Street Journal, it looks like the IPO will hit the markets in next year’s second quarter. Facebook is expected to raise an enormous $10 billion at a valuation of more than $100 billion.

But what are some of the other deals we might see? It’s mostly speculation, but here’s a look at many worthy candidates:


According to a report in Forbes, the company rejected a nine-figure buyout offer from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Instead, it decided to raise venture capital — with the recent round coming to a whopping $250 million.

Dropbox lets people store their files across many platforms, such as the iPhone, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android-based devices and their desktops. The company has a free version but starts charging users when they go over 2 gigabytes of storage. The model has been extremely effective. The buzz is that the company is on a run-rate of $240 million in revenue for 2011 and is profitable.


Many companies have tried to get a piece of Facebook’s social networking empire, and it has been nearly impossible. But it looks like Tumblr is making headway. The site allows users to easily share photos, links and videos. At the same time, they also can customize their experiences by using things like funky colors and cool designs.

The growth of the service has been breathtaking. It now gets 13 billion page views every month, up from only 2 billion at the start of the year.

Tumblr has had little trouble attracting funders and recently raised $85 million. Even Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson participated in the financing.


With the emergence of the iPhone and iPad, there is a big opportunity to change the game for online payment. One of the leaders is Square, and it certainly helps that the co-founder is Jack Dorsey, who was one of the masterminds behind Twitter.

Square has developed a credit card reader that connects to a mobile device, making it easy for merchants to accept payments as well as track inventory and share menu information.

According to an interview with Techcrunch, Square is processing $11 million a day in payments. Even in July, the company was doing just $4 million a day.

In June, Square raised $100 million in funding. The company also brought in two new board members: former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and Vinod Khosla, a legendary VC and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.


The company is blazing a new way of travel with an online marketplace that allows people to rent out their homes. It can be a win-win situation — the traveler gets a nice, affordable place to stay, and the renter gets some extra cash.

However, the business model has not been foolproof. A few months ago, a story came out about a woman whose home was ransacked. In response, Airbnb introduced new security systems as well as a $50,000 guarantee. So far, the strategy seems to have worked out. Airbnb has booked more 2 million nights since its launch in 2008.

As seen with the IPO by rival HomeAway (NASDAQ:AWAY), this sector is definitely hot.

During the past few years, cloud computing has become a big force for business apps. It helps to cut down on infrastructure costs like servers, and it also allows for better performance since the databases are updated in real-time., with a full-blown storage and collaboration system, is a top player. As a testament to its power, the company has landed top-notch customers like Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG).

With SAP’s (NYSE:SAP) recent $3.4 billion purchase of cloud operator SuccessFactors (NASDAQ:SFSF), likely is getting focused on an IPO.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. Check out’s other looks back at 2011 and ahead to 2012 here.

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