Impinj to Test IPO Waters Again, Seeking to Raise Up to $60M

Impinj, a long-tenured Seattle tech company making radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, readers, and software, aims to raise up to $60 million in an initial public stock offering. If the 16-year-old company goes forward with plans disclosed this week, it would be the first Seattle-area tech IPO since 2014, when pet insurance provider Trupanion went public.

While local biotech companies including PhaseRx and Juno Therapeutics have sold shares to the public since then, the tech industry in Seattle and elsewhere has seen an IPO drought unlike any since the Great Recession. Perhaps that’s starting to change. Impinj’s filing follows San Francisco-based Twilio’s, which registered for a maximum offering of $100 million in an S-1 filing with the SEC late last month. Meanwhile, Maynard, MA-based Acacia Communications and Atlanta-based SecureWorks went public earlier this year.

Impinj has been a patient developer of and advocate for RFID technology through the sector’s hype cycles and setbacks. The company turned a profit of $900,000 in 2015 on $78.5 million in revenue—its third consecutive year of profitability, according to its offering prospectus.

We profiled the company in April 2015 as it marked the sale of its 10 billionth RFID chip. Co-founder and CEO Chris Diorio described RFID as a technology that could enable a true “Internet of Things” that extends beyond traditional powered electronic devices.

“Our penetration rate is still relatively low compared to the number of connectible items in the everyday world,” Diorio said at the time. “There are trillions of connectible items.”

Diorio

Diorio

RFID tags can locate, identify, and authenticate items to enable things like real-time inventory tracking and “omni-channel” retail; automated highway tolling; and management of medical equipment.

Impinj has raised a total of $135 million from investors. The investors and their ownership stakes of Impinj prior to the offering are: AllianceBernstein L.P. (5.7 percent), ARCH Venture Partners (10.6 percent), GF Private Equity Group (7 percent), Intel (8.1 percent), Madrona Venture Group (9.3 percent), Mobius Venture Capital (9.1 percent), and Polaris Partners (9.8 percent). Diorio has beneficial ownership of 9.1 percent of the company.

Impinj’s most recent funding round, $21.6 million raised in 2012, followed its decision to abandon a first attempt at an IPO, for which it filed plans in April 2011.

Part of the company’s rationale for putting off the public stock sale was new federal legislation that included relaxed regulations on public offerings from a new category of stock issuer, the emerging growth company. Under the JOBS Act, companies with less than $1 billion in revenue can take advantage of accommodations including confidential filing of initial registration paperwork; reduced financial and executive compensation disclosures; and exemptions from certain audit rules.

Impinj availed itself of some of these accommodations. It filed a confidential registration statement in October 2015. Its offering prospectus includes audited financial statements for two years, 2013 and 2014, instead of three, as was the case in its 2011 filing.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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