The Sequoia Indicator: VC-Backed IPOs Making a Comeback

Every time there’s a big, lucrative flood of IPO exits in venture space, someone gets bragging rights for being early to the party. More often than not, it’s Sequoia Capital.

Lately, I’m wondering if the presence of Sequoia as a major shareholder in so many companies that have just gone public or filed to do so is an indicator that a comeback is on the horizon for the venture-backed IPO space.

Of course, it’s too early to tell. But one thing that is clear is that Sequoia stands to make a pile of money off a number of recent IPOs and planned offerings. Over the past five months, at least six portfolio companies have made public market debuts on U.S. and Asian Exchanges. At last count, Sequoia’s stakes in those companies were valued at more than $1.3 billion.

Two deals account for the bulk of that tally. First, Sequoia has a 32% pre-IPO stake in Monrovia, Calif.-based prepaid card provider Green Dot. The company, which went public in July, currently has a market cap around $2.18 billion, giving Sequoia’s stake an implied value of about $690 million.

Then, Sequoia made out big in late October with the IPO of Shanghai-based Mecox Lane, which operates a mail order catalog. Sequoia is Mecox’s largest shareholder, with a 62.5% stake in the company. With Mecox’s market cap running at about $846 million, Sequoia’s stake is worth about $529 million.

Other Sequoia-backed IPO debutantes include Chinese fast food chain operator Country Style Cooking Restaurant Chain, vegetable grower Le Gaga Holdings, China-based digital mapping provider AutoNavi and LED lighting company Changelight.

Meanwhile, several more Sequoia-backed companies are in registration to go public, including travel site Kayak Software, Indian mobile phone maker Micromax Informatics, videogame rental service Gamefly and India-based power plant operator Ind-Barath Power.