Cava’s sensible IPO ambitions could spur more companies to go public

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Even as the technology industry and investors wait for heavily venture-backed companies like Turo, Reddit and Instacart to go public, Cava is heading out and powering its own debut.

The company set an initial IPO price range this week, indicating what it may be worth once it’s public. This is also a chance for us to check our valuation estimates.

Cava intends to sell 14.4 million shares between $17 and $19 each. The IPO will raise hundreds of millions of dollars. (Note that if Cava’s underwriters exercise their option to purchase more equity at the IPO price, that number could go up to 16.6 million shares.)

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Cava, a fast-casual chain that serves Mediterranean food, may seem like an odd choice for TechCrunch to cover. However, the company has raised extensive private capital, including venture funds, and is worth more than $1 billion. This IPO will recycle funds currently locked up in its illiquid shares back to investors, and that matters for the companies that do come under the ambit of our usual coverage.

That said, Cava sits neatly next to other tech-enabled businesses that have gone public in recent years. I’m thinking about names like Sweetgreen, and Rent The Runway, even if the latter has a very different business model.

If you want to learn how Cava has grown and operates its business, head here. This morning, we’re digging into the company’s valuation.

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I was chatting recently with the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar startup about what went wrong during the 2020-2021 venture capital bubble. In their view, one of the core issues was the homogenization of revenue and how it was valued.

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