12. Initial Public Offering
Explanation: the holy grail of financing: the Initial Public Offering (IPO)! An IPO is the public listing of a company, which means that it is the first time a company offers its shares to the general public. This means that practically anyone in the world (individuals or institutional investors) can invest in the company by buying shares at a certain value.
Before an IPO, a company is private, which means that it often only has a limited number of investors who have invested early-stage or growth capital. Think of the founders, angels and VCs for instance. Spotify just performed a public offering and there are rumors about the Dutch company Adyen performing an IPO soon as well.
When to choose this source of financing: for an initial public offering to be successful, a company must be able to demonstrate years of strong growth and its proposition typically includes a certain network effect/scalability. Growth can be defined in several ways. This can be turnover or profit, but also, for example, the number of customers or active users.
For example, Spotify is a loss-making company, but has been growing enormously over the past couple of years (in terms of turnover and users). A company also has to demonstrate transparency and confidence that this growth will continue in the coming years, because it has to win the trust of the general public that the value of the shares (which they buy today) will rise in the future so that they can make a profit on their investment.
For the investors who owned a share in the company already before the IPO, a public listing can turn out to be very attractive (financially). An IPO should not be underestimated though: it is a very costly process and results in many reporting requirements towards the public, imposed by strict government regulations.