A breakdown of the figures shows that the average IPO size for the NYSE is higher than Nasdaq. Although Nasdaq has gained more tech listings — 183 for Nasdaq versus 160 for NYSE since 2010 — NYSE has won the bigger tech IPOs in recent years. All told, the tech listings on NYSE have raised $74.4bn since 2010 compared with $49.6bn for Nasdaq.
NYSE and Nasdaq retain different listing standards, which can affect decision making. NYSE listing fees for companies are capped at $500,000 a year versus $155,000 a year at Nasdaq.
Both Spotify and Dropbox declined to comment, but executives of other tech companies indicated the choice of exchange is a personal one.
Tien Tzuo, the chief executive of Zuora, which sells software that enables companies to transform into subscription businesses, said its customers, which include Caterpillar, were increasingly NYSE-listed and "it was important to be there with them".
By contrast, Rob Bernshteyn, chief executive of Coupa, said Nasdaq helped the provider of spending management services for companies to make valuable contacts. "I was introduced to John Chambers [the former executive chairman of Cisco Systems] and it developed into a mentoring relationship," he said.
The pageantry of NYSE's storied digs in Manhattan's financial district and the thrill of ringing the opening bell on listing day count for some. For Mr Bernshteyn, it was important to have as many colleagues with him as possible. NYSE has a limit of 14 guests on its podium largely because of fire code reasons, while up to 75 can share the Nasdaq stage for the market open in Times Square.
While listing fees are not a major contributor to the revenues of either Nasdaq or NYSE's parent ICE, victory in the battle for tech listings is not a pyrrhic one. The close of daily trading in a company's shares must happen at the home exchange, and with the proliferation of index-based investing and exchange traded funds, a higher volume of trading has gravitated to the end of the day.
Yet if more tech unicorns do go public, the big prize for these competing exchanges may ultimately be something far more intangible: branding.
"If you are NYSE and Nasdaq and you cannot get anyone to list on your venue," said Kyle Martin, a research analyst at Westwood Holdings, "who are you?"
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