Shift, Palantir, Dun & Bradstreet, Snowflake, Vroom, Signet, Airbnb, ZoomInfo; all of these companies revealed their intentions to file for an IPO this month alone. It's halfway through 2020, and if you're gonna commit, you better do it now. Which is why we're curious to hear reports about a company that wanted to file earlier this year, didn't, but wants to do it soon.
Unity Technologies ($PRIVATE:UNITY3D) could be the next big tech company to go on the IPO slate, according to Business Insider. Unity has been making game engines and 3D software for 16 years, first in Denmark, and now San Francisco, the place all tech startups end up landing. Unlike its main competitors, Unity doesn't make the games themselves, they only make the engine and technology.
A majority of engines are created in-house by a development studio and then licensed out by a publisher. Epic Games ($PRIVATE:EPICGAMES) and its Unreal Engine, Amazon ($AMZN) and its Lumberyard engine, and Crytek ($PRIVATE:CRYTEK) with its CryEngine are the most notable rivals for Unity.
Roughly half of all mobile games, and more than half of all AR/VR games, use Unity, giving it a critical position in the marketplace. All in all, three billion computers, consoles, phones, tablets, and rigs run Unity. Currently, the company is valued at $3 billion, so a dollar per device if you wanted to use some very unsound math on Unity's business model. But alternative data tells an even better story.
The size of Unity Technologies more than doubled in the past three years. And while so many companies are having to slim down due to the pandemic, Unity continues to defy gravity and keeps adding to its ranks.
Job openings went up 200% since 2017, and the seemingly most bizarre thing to note (which we can explain) is that there was a crater in hiring during December and January, and not in March or April when most companies felt the gut-punch of the pandemic. That may have been tied to post-M&A slimming down, which is fairly commonplace post-deal. Unity not only bought ChilliConnect, but also Vivox, which helps fuel gaming titans League of Legends and Fortnite. After that deal was done, Unity went back to hiring fully, and hasn't slowed down since.
Unity's also never been as popular as it is now, both with developers using the engine and with the games built upon it. Twitter followers went up 59% since 2017, and Instagram followers up 52% (not shown here, try our demo for full access).
Unity might be able to crack a million Facebook likes, which is very impressive for a game engine. Game engines don't typically have fans, the games themselves do! Or the people who make them. But there are more people talking about and interested in Unity now then there ever has been. So things are not only looking up for Unity, but for the IPO as well.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.