Such tactics have grown in popularity in Europe in the past year, driven by a growing number of investors keen to take part in the funding rounds.
Ken Robins, the Emea head of equity capital markets for Citigroup, believes the trend will continue, despite recent market volatility. He said: “The market for pre-IPO equity has widened considerably as traditional public investors such as mutual funds and hedge funds look to get access at an earlier stage, in the hope of enjoying a greater allocation in what are likely to be materially oversubscribed hot deals at IPO.
“Despite the recent Nasdaq correction, we expect this market to continue to develop as investors look for access to the most interesting and unique growth equity stories at an earlier stage.”
Citigroup was an adviser to German food ordering site Delivery Hero, which many people expect to consider an IPO, and raised $110 million from two US public market investors in June.
EasyProperty, which was co-founded by budget airline billionaire Stelios Haji-Ioannou only last year, is pitching for IPO advisers, but its chief executive Robert Ellice is unsure when exactly it should float. “There is absolutely no shortage of clever money looking for the next great investment,” he said, adding that the business is now likely to opt for another pre-IPO fundraising round before listing. “Because of this, an IPO isn’t the only option anymore. Do you IPO or do a venture capital round, or both?”