It's early 2019 and you work at one of those richly valued tech companies that's raised billions of dollars on its way to becoming a household name. This is the year it's all supposed to happen for you.
You've put in a half-decade or more. You've held onto your stock options even when you could sell a portion, because you believe in the company's mission — or at least the hype. You're poised to cash in when your CEO rings the opening bell at the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange, and the six-month lock-up period expires.
And by the looks of this year's IPO class, there's a good chance you live in or around San Francisco.
San Francisco companies Uber, Lyft and — as of last week — Slack and Postmates have filed confidentially for public listings. Their neighbors Airbnb and Pinterest are expected to follow, though any number of them could get pushed into 2020 if the market turns.
Some 2019 IPO plans were already delayed with the month-long shutdown that stalled correspondence with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There's still risk ahead in the form of market volatility, macroeconomic uncertainty and the threat of yet another possible shutdown.
But tech stocks are rallying again and big cloud companies are trading near record highs, signaling investor appetite for high-growth names. With the IPO pipeline filling up, there's a ton of money that will likely be unleashed in San Francisco, where the median home value is already $1.4 million, according to Zillow.
Among the tens of thousands of employees that work for these pre-IPO companies, a percentage of them will be newly minted millionaires with stock to sell.