VC-Backed Eyes IPO

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the late-1990s again. IPOs are heating up, outpacing the previous year’s totals. Plus, companies with a dot-com in their name are among those ready to offer new issues.

Chief among them is venture-backed, a Brisbane, Calif.-based company that operates an online comparison-shopping Web site. The company, which scrapped a 2001 IPO, has more to offer this time around. After all, it posted its first annual profit in 2003, according to its IPO filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. reported a profit of $6.9 million in 2003, compared to a loss of $5 million in 2002. The company also doubled revenue and traffic on its Web site in the last year. expects to raise up to $75 million with its IPO, which it filed last week.

The company, which changed its name from Epinions after a merger with DealTime, is one of the few e-commerce companies to take the IPO plunge in the last year (For a list of other recent venture-backed IPO filings in March, see the chart on page 5).

Investors have pumped more than $162 million into

DealTime raised $117 million in several rounds of financing, according to The MoneyTree Survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association. The most recent was a $3 million Series F in September 2002.

Epinions raised $45 million in three rounds, including a $12 million Series C in February 2001.

The IPO could be priced within two months.