May 30, 2024

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Heading into 2022, hopes were high that a number of companies that have long awaited their liquidity moment would finally go public. Names like Chime, Stripe, Instacart, Egnyte, Databricks and others. You could throw Figma (anticipated nine-figure revenues in 2021) and Picsart (greater than $100 million run rate) into the mix as well.

Hell, Reltio and Clio recently hit $100 million ARR, and there were a host of other names that we could have put into an IPO list for the current year if the market had held up a few quarters longer.

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But that didn’t happen, of course, and with fintech valuations plumbing new depths, software revenue multiples compressing, delivery models digesting a more IRL userbase, and the like, we’ve seen an effective freeze of all IPO activity by technology companies with material venture backing.

And yet, we have a tech IPO cooking. It’s not what you expected. Say hello to Starbox Group Holdings, which is looking to raise around $23 million at a valuation of around $200 million.

Not familiar with the Cayman-based, Malaysia-focused business? We weren’t either. Let’s take a quick peek at its numbers and then lament the current state of the IPO market — such as it is.

Thank you, Starbox

Bellwethers come in varying levels of intensity. If Chime went public in Q3, it would be a critical event for venture-backed fintech valuations, and especially so for the neobanking subcategory that has attracted huge sums of capital and consumer interest around the world.

Starbox isn’t much of a bellwether, as it is both small and relatively unknown; it doesn’t seem likely that a host of startups will get comped to its results. Still, the company’s IPO could provide some signal about the current state of technology debuts in the United States, which would be welcome.

When dying of thirst, one doesn’t check the label on the water bottle found lying on the ground. You just drink it. So let’s twist the cap and have a look.

Starbox self-describes as a “cash rebate, digital advertising, and payment solution business ecosystem,” which didn’t quite assemble in our heads as a cogent explanation. Digging into the company’s filing, it appears that this is the model:

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