OpenTable’s debut was always going to be the real test of Wall Street’s reawakening interest in tech IPOs. In the event, it’s gone off like a rocket.
Other newcomers – like SolarWinds yesterday – were looking to raise much larger amounts and had stronger track records. Would Wall Street really be interested in a $40m deal from an internet company with only $56m in revenues last year and no profits?
The answer is a resounding “yes”. The shares were priced at $20, compared to an indicated price range last week of $12-14 , and are trading above $27 on their first day today. (Update: by the end of Thursday the shares had soared to $33.55, a first-day pop of more than 70 per cent. That really is reminiscent of the Dotcom years.)
It is going to take hundreds of millions of euros (or dollars) to build and maintain a Web platform to support the wide range of internet services that will come to rely on a user’s location, or the location of other objects. Ultimately, probably only Google and Nokia are going to have the staying power to make that investment.
That was the contention of Michael Halbherr, who runs Nokia’s maps platform, when I caught up with him in California for the O’Reilly Where 2.0 conference this week.
Yahoo! and Microsoft, among others, might have something to say about that, and in a key area like geo-data its hard to see the Web ending up with only two platform providers. But to judge by the scale of Nokia’s own investment, Halbherr might at least be directionally right.
As traditional publishers falter, print-on-demand has been one of the few bright spots in the otherwise slumping book industry, writes Joe Menn:
The first serious bid for a print-on-demand bestseller began publishing on Wednesday, as Rick Smolan launched The Obama Time Capsule, as a customisable book which will be printed only after it is ordered.