Share story

Three Washington companies were among the 222 firms that held initial public offerings in the U.S. in 2013, the best year for IPOs since the dot-com era.

The number of IPOs and proceeds — $55 billion — were the highest since 2000, when 406 IPOs raised $97 billion, according to a new report by Connecticut-based Renaissance Capital that tracks initial offerings with a market capitalization of at least $50 million.

As a group, U.S. IPOs outperformed the leading stock indexes, with an average return of 35 percent and average first-day return of 17 percent, the research firm said.

Moreover, its FTSE Renaissance U.S. IPO index, which tracks post-offering performance, yielded a 61 percent return in 2013, compared with the Russell 2000’s 28 percent return, as of Dec. 18.

“Though these improvements have raised the question for some of whether 2013 portends an overbought, bubble market, valuations were disciplined,” Renaissance reported.

“With a building backlog of IPOs and economic indicators continuing to show signs of improvement, we anticipate another dynamic year for the U.S. IPO market in 2014,” the company said.

Here’s a recap of Washington firms, all in Seattle, that went public in 2013:

• Tableau Software raised $254 million in May, pricing at $31 a share and jumping 64 percent on its first day of trading under the clever ticker symbol, DATA. The company sells software for making interactive charts and visualizing data.

Tableau closed at $68.93 Tuesday and traded between $77.74 and $44 a share during the year. It ended the year with a market capitalization of $4.1 billion.

• NanoString Technologies, under the ticker NSTG, priced at $10 a share in June and raised $54 million, less than its target of $76 million. The developer of genomic-analysis tools had a poor first trading day, with a negative 20 percent return.

It closed at $17.24 Tuesday and traded between $18.09 and $7.01 a share during the year. NanoString ended the year with a market cap of $252 million.

• Zulily, an online retailer offering daily deals on children’s apparel, raised $253 million in November at $22 a share. Its stock, which trades under the ticker ZU, zoomed 71 percent in its first day.

It closed at $41.43 Tuesday and traded between $44.44 and $34.19 during the year. Zulily ended the year with a market cap of $5.1 billion.

While IPOs in the health-care, technology and consumer sectors had the highest average returns, exceeding 40 percent, they didn’t raise the most capital.

The energy and finance sectors dominated the field, responsible for almost 40 percent of the $55 billion raised in 2013, Renaissance reported.

And with the housing market making strong gains, 27 homebuilders, housing-finance and other housing-related firms went public in 2013, up from just eight in 2012.

Among them: Idaho-based Boise Cascade, which produces lumber, plywood and other wood products and distributes building materials. In February, Boise Cascade raised $247 million, pricing at $21 a share under the ticker BCC.

In 2014, at least one Washington company has indicated it plans to go public — on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Acucela, a Seattle biotechnology company developing treatments for eye diseases, plans an IPO of up to $125 million on the foreign exchange, according to a regulatory filing.

And while it’s not based in Washington, Box Inc., a Los Altos, Calif.
, cloud data-storage company, has selected its underwriters for a highly anticipated IPO in 2014, reports Reuters. The company’s two co-founders, Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith, both graduated from Mercer Island High School, according to published reports.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or On Twitter @sbhatt