Far and away the most successful of all the incredibly successful startups that have been fostered and incubated in Singapore, a city state in Southeast Asia that has quickly begun to establish itself as the new Silicon Valley, Singapore-based startup Sea is looking to make a huge splash by targeting a $1.35 billion IPO in New York City.
Many are describing Sea as Singapore’s first “unicorn” technology startup, and it already has a valuation of $1 billion by investors around the world and is expected to grow to at least a $3 billion company in valuation by the time the IPO dust has settled.
At the same time, Sea has to convince investors on the New York Stock Exchange that it has what it takes to become one of the most important and influential technology startups to come out of Singapore, but it also has to prove that it has the chops to go head-to-head and toe to toe against startups from US-based Silicon Valley as well as other operations in Europe and Asia.
Major investors like Goldman Sachs and other major banks, including a number of Malaysian and Chinese counterparts, are already jockeying for position to get appointments and interviews with the leaders behind Sea in an effort to determine whether or not they want to get in on the action.
Paperwork has already been filed with the SEC the United States for an initial public offering in New York, and if approved they are expected to begin trading under the ticker symbol “SE”.
Originally established in 2009 as a division of a computer gaming company, Sea has splintered off after beginning development on what has become one of the most popular video games in human history – League of Legends. Following up that smashing success in the world of gaming was a new mobile wallet known as Air Play, and shortly after that the company unleashed a mobile e-commerce application that does a tremendous amount of business in Southeast Asia as well as in China.
This company has enjoyed a lot of growth in a relatively short time span, but investors have been happy to throw a considerable amount of money at Sea and effort to get in on the ground floor of what could become the “next big thing” in the world of startups. In the first quarter of this year, the company has reported revenues of $195 million but a net loss of $165 million as the sales and marketing expenses ballooned to nearly $138 million – all in preparation for this initial public offering.
It’s going to be interesting to see how everything shakes out when this IPO goes live, as it is expected to, and there are a number of financial institutions and individual investors that stand to make a windfall when the shares are released to the general public after the IPO has commenced.
Traditionally, startups have been able to do rather well when it comes to their IPO though shares of companies like Facebook and Twitter have dropped off – sometimes steeply – in the months to follow. However, because of the diversity and the tangible benefits of this company, most don’t expect the same kind of tapering off to happen to Sea that happened to them.