Zomato shares soar in red-hot start for first Indian unicorn to go public


New Delhi
CNN Business
—  

India’s first billion-dollar tech startup to go public got off to a flying start on Friday.

Shares in Zomato gained as much as 80% on their first day of trading on Mumbai’s stock exchange. The listing comes a little over a week after the food delivery company launched its IPO to raise $1.3 billion. The stock ended the day about 65% above its offer price, giving the company a market value of about $13 billion.

“India is a tough market to operate in, but if you are building to succeed in India, you are already exceptional,” Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal wrote in a blog post Friday. “We are going to relentlessly focus on 10 years out and beyond, and are not going to alter our course for short term profits at the cost of long term success of the company.”

While Indian stock markets have been trading near all-time highs, Zomato’s listing was a big test of investor appetite for loss-making tech startups. Zomato reported revenue of 19.93 billion rupees ($266 million) for the year to March 31, 2021, and a loss of 8.16 billion rupees ($109 million).

The country has a ton of so-called unicorns — tech startups valued at more than $1 billion — but none of them had ever gone public in India or overseas before. Analysts had previously expressed concern that the startups — many of which have raised hundreds of millions of dollars from private investors at extremely high valuations — needed to start showing consistent profits.

“The tremendous response to our IPO gives us the confidence that the world is full of investors who appreciate the magnitude of investments we are making, and take a long term view of our business,” Goyal wrote.

The success of the IPO could also pave the way for more Indian unicorns to go public. Just two days after Zomato launched its IPO last week, digital payments firm Paytm filed for India’s biggest tech IPO on record. It is planning to raise as much as $2.2 billion in Mumbai, according to a draft prospectus.

Additionally, Walmart

(WMT)
-owned Flipkart, which is the only Indian tech unicorn to have been acquired at a valuation of more than $1 billion, is also considering a public offering, according to media reports.

Goyal, who founded Zomato in 2008, thanked a range of Indian and global tech companies, including Jio, the vast mobile network built by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, for helping create the conditions needed for his company to succeed.

“Jio’s prolific growth has set all of us up for unprecedented scale,” he said in his blog post. “Flipkart, Amazon, Ola, Uber, Paytm — have also over the years, collectively laid the railroads that are enabling companies like ours to build the India of the future,” he added.