Startup News: Cava confidentially files for IPO

Cava Confidentially Files for IPO

It’s still too early to proclaim the end of the IPO drought. But signs of at least a modest recovery exist.

Two weeks ago, Cava, the Mediterranean-styled fast-food chain, announced it had confidentially filed for an IPO. The company, which was founded in 2010 and whose last known valuation was $1.39 billion as of April 2021, has modeled its build-your-own Mediterranean meals after the formula made popular by Chipotle Mexican Grill. Cava also sells its proprietary dips and spreads, like spicy hummus, tzatziki and tahini dressing, at Whole Foods and other grocery stores.

According to CNBC, the company says that a decision to actually execute an IPO is subject to market conditions and other factors. Last year, for example, the war in Ukraine, soaring inflation and recession fears caused many companies to scrap their plans to go public.

Cava’s intent to go public follows an IPO in the biotech sector. On Feb. 10, Mineralys Therapeutics, a US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a drug to curb uncontrolled high blood pressure, completed a $192 million IPO on the Nasdaq Global Select Market at $16 per share. Shares climbed 15% on the day of its public debut.

While there are signs that the frozen IPO market may be thawing, there are also indications that venture capitalists are also more willing to open their wallet to help growth-oriented startups with questionable near-term profitability expand their businesses while remaining private.

Via Announces $3.5B Valuation

On that score, Bloomberg reported last week that Via Transportation, a software technology company that helps commuters find and use public transit routes, overcame tough times in capital markets to raise $110 million in a fresh round that values the company at $3.5 billion as of February 2022.

London-based venture capital firm 83North led the fresh round of funding, which included participation from new and existing investors. “While venture capital funding has dried up for startups that prioritize growth over profitability, Via’s customers are cities that offer long-term contracts and more-predictable revenue,” Bloomberg wrote.

Founded in 2012 as a ride-hailing service that competed with Uber, New York-based Via transitioned into building apps for transit agencies that allow riders to pre-book pickups, check schedules or request transit services. Its “TransitTech” software uses real-time radar and traffic data to allow transit authorities to adjust routes and dispatch vehicles more efficiently by pooling people traveling in the same direction into one vehicle.

The company’s annual revenue run-rate exceeded $200 million last year, more than doubling since its 2021 funding round. Via plans to use the capital to expand into new markets as well as look for opportunities to acquire other players this year, Bloomberg reported.

About the Author

John Kimelman is a veteran journalist who has worked at Barron’s and CNBC covering such topics as investing and commercial banking. Mr. Kimelman has received compensation from Forge Global, Inc. for authoring this article. Read more from John.

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