Reddit closes nearly 50% higher on 1st trading day in latest sign IPO market heating up

On the heels of Astera Labs’ successful IPO, Reddit shares skyrocketing 48% to close above $50 may incentivize other companies that are considering their own public offerings, experts told Fortune.

“Reddit and Astera are both strong green lights for the IPO market picking up. This has been something that we’ve been predicting,” Matt Kennedy, senior IPO strategist at Renaissance Capital, a provider of pre-IPO research that manages two IPO-focused ETFs, told Fortune. “We’ve had rate cuts on the horizon, stock market all-time highs—really strong debuts from tech IPOs has been the missing piece of the puzzle.”

With Astera and Reddit the first major tech IPOs over the past six months, their performance will be closely watched not just by investors but by companies considering their own offerings, Kennedy explained. It may not be immediate, he added, but IPOs could start ramping up toward the end of the year.

Acknowledging there’s pent-up up energy for companies to go public, Andrew Saeta, managing director at secondary marketplace Forge Global, agreed that it still may be a few months before companies feel secure enough to chase an IPO—at least party because of uncertainty over when the Federal Reserve starts cutting key interest rates.

Up 70%

Reddit shares traded as high as $57.80, a 70% increase from an initial list price of $34, but had fallen slightly in after-hours trading as of 7 p.m. ET.

Brianne Lynch, head of market insight for EquityZen, a marketplace for private companies, described Reddit’s first day of swaps as relatively smooth, especially compared with the chatter leading up to the IPO. Shares, which were made available to tens of thousands of “super users,” blasted out of the gate at $47.

Compared with the public debuts of other social media platforms such as Meta (at the time, still Facebook) and Snap, Kennedy said Reddit fell somewhere between those two—and definitely is the biggest IPO for a major social platform since Pinterest’s in 2019. 

But unlike other platforms that have offered shares, Reddit’s ecosystem is unique, and its executives now may face additional pressure to keep moderators and users of the site happy. How that affects share prices remains to be seen.

Recent attempts by Reddit executives to monetize content, including an AI-related deal with Google for $60 million annually, received pushback from Redditors, including moderators.

Reddit “simply could not have hundreds of thousands of subreddits without the volunteer work, essentially,” Lynch added. “They need these moderators, and I think that part of the idea of allowing the super users to buy into the IPO is to make them really feel like stakeholders—it’s skin in the game.”

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