IVP is having a breakout year as ZipRecruiter becomes its 6th portfolio company to go public. And there are more to come, with companies like SoFi and Robinhood set to debut.

  • IVP’s Eric Liaw met ZipRecruiter’s CEO in 2012 but didn’t lead a Series A round until 2014. 
  • ZipRecruiter is IVP’s sixth company to go public so far this year. SoFi and Robinhood are next.
  • IVP has seen a 10.5-times multiple on invested capital from 2021 listings like Coinbase and UiPath.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When IVP general partner Eric Liaw met the ZipRecruiter team in 2012, he found himself in a peculiar position. Most founders seek out investors like Liaw by submitting a pitch deck and formally pitching their startup ideas in hopes of raising money.

But when he spoke with ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel, whom Liaw was introduced to through a mutual friend in Los Angeles, it was clear that this particular startup didn’t want, or need, his money.

“He was like, ‘I like you, but I don’t need your money,’ which is one of the things that I respect most about Ian,” Liaw said. “Even in 2012, he was like, ‘I don’t want to bring an outsider into the company unless I have very concrete plans for what I would do with additional capital.'” 

After a two-year courtship, Liaw helped IVP lead an initial $63 million Series A round in August 2014 and followed up with subsequent rounds. The total number of ZipRecruiter shares IVP holds is 22.7 million, according to the firm. Based on Wednesday’s opening price of $20 a share, that stake is now worth nearly $454 million.

10.5-times multiple on invested capital from 2021 listings

As later-stage venture-capital investors, the IVP team is described by VC peers and founders as being “specialized,” “thoughtful,” and “selective” about the investments it makes. Traditionally, the firm has not written a lot of checks, investing in about 12 to 15 new companies a year, with check sizes ranging from $10 million to $150 million, according to IVP general partner Tom Loverro. In the early days, the firm invested in companies like Twitter, Zynga, and Supercell.

That selectiveness is paying off, with portfolio companies like Coinbase, the Honest Co., and UiPath all making their public debuts in the first half of the year. ZipRecruiter is the firm’s sixth portfolio company to go public this year. Last year, only two of its companies — Sumo Logic and Casper — went public. Since the firm’s inception in 1980, 121 of its portfolio companies have gone public.

“We focus on hypergrowth companies, led by ambitious management teams going after large markets with differentiated products that address customer pain points, whether they are enterprise-facing or consumer-facing,” Liaw, who joined the firm in 2011, said.

The firm’s investment team of 21, or those with check-writing abilities, has already seen a 10.5-times multiple on invested capital from the 2021 public listings, calculated based on those companies’ valuations as of the end of April.  

How IVP celebrates IPO winners

Two weeks ago, IVP announced it raised $1.8 billion to hunt for the next decade’s growth-stage deals in areas like healthcare digitization, cybersecurity, enterprise infrastructure, and artificial intelligence, Steve Harrick, a general partner at IVP, said.

“We look for exceptional entrepreneurs that are bold enough to challenge the status quo and invent better ways for us to work, play, and communicate with each other,” Harrick said.

What draws founders like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to IVP is having an advocate during critical growth moments. Armstrong said Loverro, who led the company’s Series D in 2017, stepped in to help interview candidates for key leadership roles. In a previous interview with Insider, Loverro said he helped hire Coinbase President and Chief Operating Officer Emilie Choi, along with Chief Financial Officer Alesia Haas.

Andrew Dudum, a cofounder and the CEO of another IVP portfolio company, Hims & Hers, said the firm had a track record of taking great, high-potential companies and helping shape them into long-standing public companies, “a pattern recognition unlike any I’ve seen in growth capital in the Valley,” he told Insider.

Looking toward the second half of the year, IVP expects five more of its portfolio companies to go public. SoFi is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange next week after a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company. Robinhood confidentially filed for an initial public offering in March, and NerdWallet is also eyeing an IPO, Reuters reported.

To celebrate the big public debuts of its portfolio companies, the firm gathers around to place bets on what price a company’s shares will close at after its first trading day. Everyone in the company sends in a guess before the stock starts trading, and the closest guess at the end of the day gets a bottle of champagne. 

“Nothing too big, but something to remind us all that these don’t happen all the time and are big moments for our portfolio companies and thus our firm,” Liaw said.

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