Property technology startup Open Door Labs Inc. is set to go public via a merger with an existing listed company, according to a report today from Bloomberg.
Quoting people with knowledge with the matter, the report claims that Opendoor is looking to merge with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. II. Social Capital is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a current price of $14.45 per share, up 16% in after-hours trading based on the report that it was merging with Opendoor.
Founded in 2014, Opendoor offers an online real estate marketplace that’s pitched as streamlining the property sales process. Real estate sites are a dime a dozen but where Opendoor differs is that it buys homes digitally, making minor repairs and then listing the properties for sale while charging a fee for the service. The company uses software to find a price that is attractive to the property owner but still allows it to make a profit by reselling the home later.
Coming into its reverse IPO, Opendoor has raised $1.5 billion in venture capital funding. The ubiquitous SoftBank Group Corp. is the major investor through its Vision Fund. Other investors include General Atlantic, Khosla Ventures, NEA and Norwest Venture Partners.
Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings II is a partnership between millionaire venture capitalist and former Facebook Inc. executive Chamath Palihapitiya and longtime investor Ian Osborne. According to its website, the company unites technologists, entrepreneurs and technology-oriented investors around a shared vision of identifying and investing in innovative and agile technology companies.
“We believe the future success of the capital markets for technology companies is dependent on new company formation, the sustainability of robust private market funding and an increased willingness of private technology companies to become publicly traded and therefore become available to a broader universe of investors who can benefit from their disruption and growth,” the company states.
Where it gets interesting is that it would appear that Social Capital was founded and listed on the premise of providing tech companies a way to go public without going down either a traditional IPO path or even the increasingly popular direct listing option. “Our mission is to create an alternative path to a traditional IPO for disruptive and agile technology companies to achieve their long-term objectives and overcome key deterrents to becoming public,” Social Capital says.
The time frame for the reverse IPO is not specified, but given the surge of upcoming tech IPOs — including Airbnb Inc., Palantir Technologies Inc., Asana Inc., DoorDash Inc., Snowflake Computing Inc., Sumo Logic Inc. and Unity Software Inc. — presuming the deal goes through, Opendoor will likely be open to public trading before the end of the year.
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