2016 is a hard year for any tech startup to go public, much less a startup burning cash and valued at $2 billion.
More proof of that is IPO-bound Nutanix. In a very rare move for a company trying to raise money with an IPO, Nutanix borrowed $75 million from one of its IPO underwriters, Goldman Sachs, it says in updated IPO documents filed with the SEC.
Goldman Sachs is also an equity investor, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Investors are looking for profits in this tough IPO season.
There have been two tech IPOs this year. The first was from Dell, which spun off its tech security unit, SecureWorks, in preparation for its huge merger deal with EMC. SecureWorks was operating in the red and its IPO fizzed.
But the IPO of Acacia Communications, which makes optical networking products, did well. Acacia was growing sales and was profitable.
Nutanix has never had a profitable quarter, it says, although sales are growing well. It helped invent a hot data center market called “hyper-converged” and its been challenging some established players in the market like VMware. Its revenues nearly doubled to $305 million from the year ago period, but its losses grew too, to $119 million from $89 million, it says.
Nutanix CFO characterized the loan from Goldman as “insurance,” telling the WSJ that it was a less expensive way to get that “insurance” than other forms of financing.
And that’s not a good sign. If investors were eager to buy its public stock at the price it wanted, it wouldn’t need insurance. It would move forward with its IPO instead.
If Nutanix goes public sooner rather than later it says it will repay Goldman immediately. Goldman will collect a minimum of $6.5 million for the loan. If Nutanix doesn’t go public quickly, it has three years to pay the loan off at 10% interest.
Nutanix filed for its IPO in December. There’s no word yet on when that IPO might take place. It reportedly delayed its plans once already, in February.
In early April, it looked like Nutanix was getting closer to the IPO day when it updated its paperwork. At that time, Nutanix cofounder and CEO Dheeraj Pandey, its biggest personal shareholder, also gave up 1.3 million shares, valued at $14 million to sweeten the number of shares available to employees.