Tech IPO Looks To Out Fund Etsy


Last week‘s blog profiled the different practice the peer-to-peer e-commerce company, Etsy, planned to use for its own billion dollar  IPO. Now a little known New York tech company, Virtu Financial, is planning to launch its own billion dollar IPO this week that will rival Etsy’s. This blog update is courtesy of Crain’s New York Business’s article, “The $1B-plus startup IPO coming this week that’s not Etsy“, below is an excerpt.

The long, cold winter has ended,and the thaw is extending to the IPO market. Etsy, Brooklyn’s sentimental favorite,is making headlines with a public offering this week that could raise as much as $267 million, giving it a valuation of nearly $1.8 billion.

But another New York tech company, one that you’ve probably never heard of, is also going public this week—and it plans to raise more money than Etsy. Virtu Financial, a high-speed trading firm, believes investors will fork over as much as $361 million for shares that would make it worth $2.6 billion.

Hard to warm to

Virtu, founded in 2008, is not the sort of company you easily warm up to. It put off a public offering last year when the Michael Lewis book Flash Boys shone a highly unflattering light on high-speed trading. (The Wall Street Journal points out that Virtu has since allied itself with a company that doesn’t hurt other investors with its trading technology and that it earned a favorable mention in the paperback edition of the book.)

Etsy, meanwhile, has made news with an IPO strategy that has been described variously as handcrafted and artisanal. It is spreading the wealth around among smaller investors by putting a cap of $2,500 on the amount of stock that retail in-vestors can buy.

To continue read this article from Crain’s New York Business, click here.

Broker-Dealer IPO Time: Electronic Trading Firm Virtu Financial Tries Again

ipo time blog update profiles the second swing at the IPO bat by high-frequency-trading firm Virtu Financial Inc. The coverage is courtesy of TradersMag republishing of story from Bloomberg LP —

(Bloomberg) -Virtu Financial Inc., which delayed its initial public offering amid a furor over high-frequency traders, said it plans to raise as much as $314 million in a share sale.

The company will offer about 16.5 million shares at $17 to $19 apiece, according to a regulatory filing Monday. At the high end of the offering range, Virtu would be valued at about $2.6 billion, based on 136.5 million shares outstanding, the amount if all classes convert to Class A, the document shows. All of the shares are being sold by the company, rather that existing investors.

The filing precedes formal marketing of the deal, a process that was delayed after “Flash Boys,” the Michael Lewis book released in March 2014, alleged that high-speed traders, Wall Street brokerages and exchanges have rigged the $24 trillion U.S. stock market. Amid the heightened scrutiny caused by the book and various regulatory investigations, officials involved in the offering decided to shelve the deal.

Virtu’s revenue last year was $723 million according to the filing, an 8.8 percent increase from 2013. Net income rose to $190 million from $182 million the previous year. The 148- employee company, which uses computerized strategies to buy and sell everything from stocks to currencies, has had only one losing days in its six years of operation.

“Over a million times day, we’re not making money,” Chief Executive Officer Doug Cifu said at an industry conference last June. “But when you add up the volume of instruments that we trade, the tens of thousands of strategies that we trade in all the different marketplaces, it’s simply the law of large numbers, and, as a result, yes, we are profitable every day.”

Virtu has thrived as two decades of market reform and computer advances helped automated traders largely supplant humans on the floors of exchanges around the world. The company’s main business is market making, using software to provide standing offers to buy and sell stocks and other securities.

The past year has seen the departure of Virtu’s President, Chris Concannon. He left for Bats Global Markets Inc. in November and became CEO of the exchange operator on March 31.

Worldwide Expansion

Virtu started in 2008 by trading U.S. stocks and has since expanded worldwide and into assets including government bonds, currencies and futures. The firm makes markets in more than 11,000 securities and other financial products, trading on more than 225 exchanges in 34 countries, according to its filing.

Electronic market-making firms such as Virtu use automated systems to earn money off the prices that buyers are willing to pay and sellers are willing to offer. They depend on scale to make money given the compression between bids and offers during the past decade.