Skip to Content

Data Sheet—Friday, March 3, 2017

The blessed moment has occurred. Snap is public. The “camera” company priced its shares at $17 a share, they opened at $24, traded as high as $26—too bad for those investors, right?—and settled around $24. At a 44% pop and a $28-billion valuation, it was a tremendous success for Snap.

But wait. Party poopers like my colleague Shawn Tully say the day was a “disaster” for Snap. Tully says Snap left $1.1 billion “on the table,” a favorite phrase for those who’d like to make hay of the difference between the valuation retail investors were willing to pay and what investment banker underwriters actually charged their clients, the hedge funds and mutual funds that participated in the offering. To Tully, Snap was foolish to allow itself to be taken for a ride by its bankers, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

My colleague’s math is impeccable, but his reasoning is suspect. First, there’s a big difference between what funds committing tens of millions of dollars say they are willing to pay and what click-to-buy investors do with their small lots. It’s fashionable to say the bankers are favoring their investor customers over the issuers of the stock. But the underwriters are ones on the hook for getting a deal done. That’s what underwriting means. Furthermore, we’ve seen many times that exuberant initial prices simply don’t hold. Twitter, Fitbit, and Lending Club are three examples of upbeat IPOs that trade below their IPO prices. Any company and their bankers would rather forgo day-one gains rather than suffer the shame of disappointed investors down the road.

Snap should bask in the glow of a successful offering. There’s no guarantee it will last.

Adam Lashinsky
@adamlashinsky
adam_lashinsky@fortune.com

BITS AND BYTES

How to interpret Snap’s IPO. The company behind Snapchat saw its stock price pop 44% upon its public market debut. Plenty of skeptics eye the money-losing firm as a risky gamble, to say the least. But the short supply of stock and institutional investors’ fear of missing out all but guaranteed strong demand. The question now on everyone’s mind: Is Snap the next Facebook, or Twitter? (FortuneFortuneReuters, Recode, Wall Street Journal, New York Times)

A typo caused Amazon’s cloud meltdown. Earlier this week, Internet services relying on Amazon Web Services’ cloud storage offering—like Slack, Dropbox, and Trello—were knocked offline when an Amazon engineer accidentally knocked out a slew of servers in northern Virginia during routine maintenance. The employee attempted to fix an issue affected the system’s billing process. In the words of Amazon, “Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended.” (Fortune, Amazon)

Instacart to raise $400 million. The grocery delivery startup is in talks to raise another mega round of funding that would boost its private valuation to $3 billion, according to a report by Axios. VC firm Sequoia Capital is apparently poised to lead the round. Instacart has raised $275 million at a $2 billion valuation to date. (Fortune, Axios)

Tech giants back transgender rights. A host of America’s leading businesses—including Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Microsoft—signed a Supreme Court brief in support of a transgender Virginia student on Thursday. Gavin Grimm, a female-born high school student who identifies as male, is suing his local school board over boy’s bathroom access. (Reuters, New York Times)

THE DOWNLOAD

Robots or humans? The choice does not have to be mutually exclusive, according to Google and IBM. In an era of maturing artificial intelligence technology, what does the future of the corporation look like? Will the rise of robots help us do our jobs better, or harm them? This dynamic has become a mainstay of the dialogue around AI, with voices from technology visionaries such as Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking weighing in. But at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Hong Kong on Tuesday, leaders at two of the world’s most powerful tech giants pushed back on those concerns. AI is intended to help—not hinder—the human workforce, they said. Fortune‘s Michelle Toh covered the panel.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Netflix Continues Its Quest to Become the Future of Television, by Mathew Ingram

Why Richard Branson’s Newest Space Company Could Be a Lucrative Venture, by Kirsten Korosec

Hootsuite CEO Apologizes for Telling a Reporter to Call a Sex Hotline, by Polina Marinova

Slack Just Fixed a Major Security Bug, by Jonathan Vanian

These Coders Are Fighting to Protect Abortion Rights Under President Trump, by Abigail Abrams

 

ONE MORE THING

Meet the 10-year-old who inspired Elon Musk. Bria Loveday, a fifth-grader who practices martial arts, penned a letter that has apparently persuaded tech billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk to kick off a crowdsourced marketing campaign for his automotive company. That’s just the beginning: Loveday’s got even bigger ambitions for the world. (Fortune)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

 

Gartner Data & Analytics Summit: Strategies for generating business value. (March 6-9; Grapevine, Texas)

Google Cloud Next: Products and perspectives for developers and customers. (March 7-10, 2017; San Francisco)

CIO Leadership Forum (East): Strategy in the age of digital disruption. (March 19-21; Hollywood, Fla.)

IBM Interconnect: Tap into advanced cloud technology. (March 19-23; Las Vegas)

Oracle Industry Connect: Thought leaders share domain expertise, insights, and best practices. Invite-only. (March 20–22; Orlando, Fla.)

Enterprise Data World: Become a data-driven business. (April 2-7; Atlanta)

AppianWorld: Accelerate your digital business transformation. (April 3-5; San Francisco)

Magento Imagine: Strategies and technologies for digital commerce. (April 3-5; Las Vegas)

Open Networking Summit: The future of open source communications. (April 7-9; Santa Clara, Calif.)

MuleSoft Connect: Connect apps, data and devices. (April 18-20; San Francisco)

Marketing Nation Summit: Marketo’s annual event for digital marketers. (April 23-26; San Francisco)

JiveWorld: Strategies and technologies for workplace collaboration. (May 1-3; Las Vegas)

Apttus Accelerate: Perspectives on automating the “quote-to-cash” process. (May 2-4; San Francisco)

Collision: A tech conference created by the organizers of Europe’s Web Summit. (May 2-4; New Orleans)

Knowledge17: ServiceNow’s annual customer gathering. (May 7-11; Orlando, Fla.)

Gartner IT Operations Strategies & Solutions Summit: How to accommodate cloud services and other “digital” technologies. (May 8-10; Orlando, Fla.)

Outperform: The PROS annual conference about omnichannel commerce technology. (May 10-12; Chicago)

Build: Microsoft’s annual conference for software developers. (May 10-12; Seattle)

Google I/O: Alphabet’s annual developer conference. (May 17-19; Mountain View, California)

Signal: Twilio’s annual developer confab. (May 24-25; San Francisco)

Pure//Accelerate: The future of data storage. (June 12-14; San Francisco)

MongoDB World: A gathering of the world’s fastest-growing database community. (June 20-21; Chicago)

Cisco Live: Education for technology innovators. (June 25-29; Las Vegas)

Microsoft Ignite: Hands-on learning and industry insights for business leaders. (Sept. 25-29; Orlando, Florida)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Robert Hackett.
Find past issues. Sign up for other Fortune newsletters.