I was doing some work today and came across Ironplanet, which is an Accel-backed marketplace for buying and selling construction equipment. The company filed an S-1 back in March and then an S-1/A in May, so I kind of assumed that they would be out by now.
I checked and it appears that nothing has happened on their IPO. On paper, the company seems like a strong candidate. Its eBay for a large market of expensive and specialized used equipment, a market which is old school and opaque, and thus vulnerable to the efficiencies brought by an internet-based middleman. With a marketplace business model, which I-bankers tend to love, it generated $54M and $5M of income from operations or so last year, showing healthy margins at moderate scale and strong revenue growth. At first blush, all looks good. I expected them to get a good reception from the public markets.
But then I read the S-1/A closer and it appears that that profit turned to a loss in Q1 2010, though the loss looks seasonal. Y/Y Q growth in Q1 looks strong, but it was accompanied by large increases in sales and marketing spend and G&A, which raises at least some question regarding how much hand holding these transactions require.
Since I look at lots of companies who are potential IPO candidates, I thought I should dig a bit farther.
I found this unbelievable rant by a very pissed off person in the TOP search return on “Ironplanet IPO date.” (Note to remember: the internet makes it damn easy for a pissed off person with information to read important eyeballs).
Check this out:
I don’t know if this rant is true, but clearly something is going on with this company. There are claims — acknowledged in the filing — that the company stole the founder’s stake by repurchasing his shares for $0.05 via the dreaded repurchase right a week before the company filed to go public. This could be a big story for the valley. Accel Partners and Kleiner Perkins are investors.
Techcrunch? Mashable? Venturebeat? Anyone home?