Instacart shares end up 12% on debut after initial pop

By Niket Nishant and Noel Randewich

(Reuters) -Instacart’s shares ended up 12% in their Nasdaq debut on Tuesday, failing to hold onto an intraday gain of as much as 43%, days after SoftBank’s Arm Holdings debuted on Wall Street with a bang.

The IPO of San Francisco-based Instacart, which is incorporated as Maplebear Inc, was priced at the top end of its $28 to $30 price range, raising a total of $660 million, of which $237 million will go to investors who sold their shares in the offering.

The IPO gave Instacart a valuation of nearly $9.9 billion, a fraction of the $39 billion it was worth in 2021, the company’s last funding round.

The stock closed at $33.70 after hitting a high of $42.95.

Several startups’ valuations have shrunk since 2022 as inflation, geopolitical tensions and the Federal Reserve’s rapid rate hikes soured the economic climate.

Investors had speculated that Instacart’s debut, along with those of chip designer Arm and RayzeBio last week, could encourage other startups to test the waters and potentially revive the IPO market after a near 18-month dry spell, albeit at lower valuations than during the exuberance of 2020 and 2021.

“One of the biggest headwinds to getting companies to come out was the founders coming around to the fact that they needed to get these things valued to reality and not to their last equity raise,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Wealth.

But a lukewarm reception to Neumora Therapeutics’ IPO last week hinted at limited investor enthusiasm for new listings.

Arm soared on its first day of trading but has dropped every day since then. After Tuesday’s 4.9% drop, Arm has now declined 13% from the closing price on its first day of trading, and remains about 8% above its $51 IPO price.

As of Sept. 8, the 10 biggest U.S. IPOs of the past four years were down an average of 47% from the closing price on their first day of trading, an analysis of LSEG data showed.

Instacart is debuting almost three years after kicking off preparations for going public, with the company’s long slog to Nasdaq featuring some key moments.

Its core business turned profitable in 2022, and that trend has continued in the first six months of 2023, the company disclosed in its regulatory filing last month.

In 2021, its co-founder Apoorva Mehta stepped down after seven years at the helm and named Fidji Simo, the former head of Meta’s Facebook app, its CEO.

Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters for Instacart’s IPO.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, California; Editing by Devika Syamnath, Anil D’Silva and Nick Zieminski and Richard Chang)