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October 29, 2021

Rocker pulls the plug on IPO just weeks after announcing it

By Eric Johansson

Well, that went fast. Swedish neobank Rocker has pulled the plug on its public listing just weeks after announcing it. The move comes after market analysts warned investors to “stay clear” of the company.

Here’s a quick reminder: Rocker is part of a new wave of Scandinavian challenger banks that also includes Lunar Bank, indó, Northmill and, to some extent, buy-now-pay-later quadradecacorn Klarna, which is licensed as a digital bank in Sweden.

These challenger banks are part of a wider European wave of neobanks, as described in GlobalData’s Beyond the Hype: Insight into Digital Challenger Banks thematic research report.

Having originally been founded with the name Bynk in 2016, Rocker announced plans to file for an initial public offering (IPO) earlier in October.

However, despite claiming that the IPO had become oversubscribed within the first 24 hours, Rocker is now pumping the breaks on the float on the Nasdaq First North Growth Capital stock exchange.

“The listing has been withdrawn because the board has decided that a private and secure round is the best thing for the company at the time,” Dennis Ahlsén, Rocker’s founder and chair, told Breakit. “This will provide us with the opportunity to fully focus on our continuous growth.”

Richard Sandenskog, head of investment at Rocker majority owner Schibsted, added: “We believe Rocker has every chance to reach its goals and we are looking forward to growing each area of the business together; Rocker You, Rocker Pay and Rocker Buddy in both Sweden and the rest of Europe.”

It is unclear how much Rocker is planning to raise in the private round or at what valuation. According to its annual results, Rocker had a revenue of SEK 89m ($10.1m) in 2020, with losses of SEK 72.3m. Rocker has raised €76.5m in total. The neobank achieved a $214.3m valuation following a $54.3m round in 2019.

Not everyone has agreed with the optimism of Rocker and its owner. Since Rocker first announced the IPO, market stakeholders and analysts have expressed concerns about the neobank’s listing.

Affärsvärlden, one of the leading Swedish business publications, offered a particularly scathing analysis of Rocker’s IPO plans earlier this week.

“We can’t see much that is attractive about Rocker,” the publication said. “The advice is to not apply for shares and to stay clear, at least until the company has proven that its new broader product strategy works and that its revenue begins to grow accordingly with the business’ goals.”

Following the news that Rocker is pulling the plug on the IPO, the Swedish business community has reacted with a mixture of glee and disappointment.

As Marcus Hernhag, business author, noted on Twitter: “Rocker decided at the very last minute to stay private. One may think that’s a bit too late to come to that decision, given an oversubscribed round, and that it would be better to raise a private funding round to better focus on growth.”

Rocker did not return Verdict’s requests to comment on this story.

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