Return of the Tech IPO

Paul Kedrosky may not know much about the power of Blackberry (hence no need for Blackberry 2.0), but he does know the stock markets… very well. He has been calling for a comeback of the technology IPOs in 2007. And he is right about that. We are beginning to hear rumblings of many companies looking to tap the IPO markets. For instance, Michael Arrington is reporting on a possible IPO for NetSuite, which is looking for a $1 billion valuation.

If that was not enough, there is Clearwire looking to go public…. again! Glu Mobile has IPO dreams. And then there is Peter Thiel talking about Facebook being worth $8 billion, or more than MTV. (Okay, maybe he should stop going to Yelp parties, but still, he does have a point.) That it’s not going to happen with Yahoo, so the only other option for Facebook is going public.

Ironically, while all the attention is on big and sexy names, the IPO market is coming back as a result of smaller, relatively unknown players. Paul points to Isilon’s IPO and its first day gains. Riverbed is another company that has done relatively well in a tough market for technology offerings, along with VoIP gear supplier Acme Packet, which listed in October. Others like Veraz Networks and Aruba Networks are poised to go public soon as well.

Amongst the names I expect to go public next year, Infinera is in the most-likely category, and they will perform well, given their business fundamentals, and how well they are doing. Force 10 Networks is other company that can tap the public markets in 2007, if momentum holds.

These are the kind of IPOs that might finally shift Silicon Valley’s attention away from companies with questionable futures to ones that build real technology products. But we shall wait and see… pretty much the attitude of readers who are participating in our IPO poll. What are your picks for most likely IPO candidates for 2007? We will publish the final picks on Dec. 31, 2006.