NerdWallet Pops in IPO, Outshining Home Decor and Police Gear Debuts

NerdWallet is proving you can make money writing on the internet — as long as you write about money.

The personal finance website burned the brightest of Thursday’s three IPOs, skyrocketing to $28.30 from an original asking price of $18. With a value of $2 billion, it’s now among the small, elite class of media unicorns including Buzzfeed, Vice, and Vox.

Keeping Up With…

A financial advice website IPO-ing is a bit like a Kardashian dropping a new perfume on Instagram — there’s a built-in customer base. NerdWallet is already considered one of few credible money websites amidst the scrapyard of scammy personal finance listicles. The site has been profitable for several years thanks to the lucrative “partner fees” it claims don’t influence content.

The company will use the cash influx to expand its content, pay down a small debt load, and for “potential” M&A following purchases of UK website Know Your Money and Fundera, a loan comparison tool.

Other newbies to hit the market Thursday include winner Cadre Holdings, a supplier of tactical gear to police, military, and EMTs; and loser Arhaus, a high-end furniture brand.

  • Cadre, which supplies “safety and survivability” products for first responders (AKA uniforms, holsters, and fingerprint powders), closed up a bit over 2% at $15.29 months after it backed off a planned $16-$19 August IPO because of a cooling market.
  • Old-school luxury furniture maker Arhaus (AKA founded 1986 not 2014) debuted nearly 4% below its already compressed share price of $12.50. With limited name recognition and a rather niche clientele — 50% earn over $200,000 — the brand isn’t doing it for investors the way West Elm and Williams Sonoma-owned Pottery Barn, whose sales rose 40-50% in the second quarter, are for customers.
The Takeaway

Supplying EMTs with walkie-talkies and 40 somethings with mortgage advice aren’t the most glamorous grinds, but a unique specialty and strong brand can go a long way.

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