FORTUNE — Some investors are hoping Everyday Health’s initial public offering Friday will be a spoonful of sugar on top of an artificially sweetened IPO market. The medical advice website raised about $115 million in an IPO that priced late Thursday night selling shares at $14 apiece, the midpoint of its expected range.
Like many companies hitting the public market these days, Everyday Health can’t boast about profits. The company lost $18.2 million in 2013 and $22.5 million in 2012. Its bottom line was negatively impacted last year by an $8 million interest payment on its rather healthy debt load of $71 million. Though its advertising revenue has grown — 40% since 2011 — it still made only $134 million in 2013. Total revenue for the year was $156 million. It will begin trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker (EVDY).
Yet the offering suggests investors have renewed hope in specialty websites, and those that dole out guidance on prescription drugs and parenting problems might be in a good spot.
The company targets individual readers with celebrity exercise experts like Jillian Michaels and high-profile doctors like CNN’s Sanjay Gupta. It has many online properties: 25 websites, 26 mobile applications, seven YouTube shows, 31 social media outlets, and an Emmy-nominated broadcast television show (Recipe Rehab). About 500,000 health care professionals, including one-third of all U.S. physicians, used various aspects of the company last year.
That doesn’t make it bulletproof, to be sure. But the health care specialty is key to culling a lucrative group, which is the company’s strong point. Last year approximately 132 million unique users accessed health-related sites per month, according to the company’s prospectus, up from 94 million in 2009. Health care ad spending is enormous. eMarketer estimates that about 3% of all digital ad spending, or $1.2 billion, was from health care providers in 2013.
Everyday Health tried to go public in late 2010, but pulled its offering, citing market conditions. So it probably is being helped by a more welcoming IPO market today — and other recent health care technology IPOs as well.
Still there are other examples of niche websites that have been publicly listed, so it isn’t that radical of an idea. Women’s wellness site iVillage went public in 1999 and jumped almost 300% on the day of its debut. WebMD (WBMD) rose 71% in its first day of trading in 2005. It is still publicly traded, though shares have posted mixed performance since being a public company. (For reference, its enterprise value-to-revenue multiple is slightly lower than Everyday Health’s.)
Even though Everyday Health’s deal may seem like a stretch, investors shouldn’t underestimate it.