Eastside tech companies Smartsheet, OfferUp, Apptio face challenging 2019

Here are a handful of companies from the Eastside that will be interesting to watch in 2019.

The Eastside is home to dozens of tech startups and enterprises looking to make their mark on the world. In 2018, tech companies did exceptionally well with big players like Spotify and Sonos’ IPOs going over smoothly with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). However, Eastside companies are entering the new year with different priorities and challenges. Here are a handful of companies from the Eastside that will be interesting to watch in 2019.

Smartsheet

Smartsheet’s focus on providing an intuitive work management platform seems to be paying off after going public in April 2018 and earning $150 million from its Initial Public Offering (IPO). The Bellevue-based company’s third-quarter revenue grew 59 percent year-over-year, earning $46.9 million this quarter. Mark Mader, CEO of Smartsheet, touted the company’s market dominance in their Q3 earnings report.

“Our growth demonstrates that for many of our largest and fastest-growing customers, Smartsheet has become a mission-critical work execution platform that delivers operationally important solutions across their businesses,” Mader said in the report.

However, Smartsheet’s upcoming Q4 results could change that. Smartsheet’s stock price fell during the widespread sell-offs in October that cost the stock market $2 trillion, according to Dow Jones analyst Howard Silverblatt in an interview with CNBC. Smartsheet’s next earnings report is expected to reflect this. 2018 was a strong business year for Smartsheet, whether evaluating the company on their earnings or their performance in the stock market.

OfferUp

OfferUp has a few challenges to overcome in 2019. While the company has provided an intuitive secondhand marketplace experience with its app, it isn’t the only company doing so. Facebook, eBay, Poshmark, Craigslist — each of these companies provide a marketplace for used items. Letgo, one of OfferUp’s competitors, has raised $975 million, compared to the $262 million raised by OfferUp. OfferUp attempted to raise an additional $150 million in 2018, but fell short of meeting its goal. OfferUp will have ample competitors in 2019.

OfferUp’s business could get a boon in the near future. Tech market research platform CB Insights 2019 tech IPO Pipeline report lists OfferUp as one of 286 tech companies primed to go public in 2019. Hitting the public market would allow OfferUp to make up for the difference in capital between it and Letgo. OfferUp and Letgo are both pre-IPO companies.

Apptio

Technology business management company Apptio will face both financial and legal challenges in the new year. After going public two years ago, the Bellevue company was acquired in November by investment firm Vista Partners Equity for $1.94 billion, with the deal set to close in the first quarter of 2019. While the company experienced steadily rising revenue on the public markets, the acquisition by Vista for $38 per share represented a 53 percent premium for shareholders.

The deal has not gone without its troubles. Bragar Eagel & Squire is investigating Apptio’s Board of Directors. According to a Bragar Eagel & Squire press release, they’re specifically looking into “whether Apptio and its board of directors violated the federal securities laws and/or breached their fiduciary duties to the Company’s stockholders by failing to conduct a fair process and whether and by how much the proposed transaction undervalues the Company.”

Apptio could see large amounts of growth in 2019, according to CEO Sunny Gupta.

“Vista’s investment and deep expertise in growing world-class SaaS businesses and the flexibility we will have as a private company will help us accelerate our growth while helping us maintain our commitment to creating wildly successful customers,” Gupta said in a press release after Vista’s acquisition agreement.

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