Israeli Internet Startup Wix Files for Initial Public Offering in the U.S.

The IPO could be the first this year by an Israeli high-tech company.

Wix, a web development and design platform company, on Tuesday submitted a draft registration to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering, making it the first Israeli high-tech company this year to go public on Wall Street.

Wix, commercially known as Wix.com, did not indicate how much it sought to raise in the IPO, nor did it identify the underwriters.

The offering will begin after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market conditions, the company said.

In February, Bloomberg News reported that Wix would seek to raise $75 million. Market sources said at the time that that would put the value of the company in the range of $400 million to $500 million, including capital raised.

Wix's SEC filing comes amid a spate of Israeli share sales in the United States. On Tuesday, Evogene, a plant genomics company that is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, said it was planning a share offering for trading on the New York Stock Exchange, though it didn't provide details. Last week, Kamada, a biotechnology company that is also traded on the TASE, raised $51.6 million in a share sale on Wall Street.

By comparison, only one Israeli company in 2012 conducted a U.S. IPO – Caesarstone Sdot Yam, a maker of quartz countertops.

Market sources said on Tuesday that Wix would likely conduct its IPO in the next few months, probably in the fourth quarter. It is expected to use the proceeds to fund acquisition deals that would help sustain its growth.

Along with Conduit, Wix is regarded as Israel's biggest Internet company. It employs 440 people, 330 of them in its research and development center at the Tel Aviv port and the rest in New York.

Wix was formed in 2006 by Giora Kaplan and brothers Nadav and Avishai Abrahami. Its investors include Insight Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, Mangrove Capital Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital, which together have put some $66 million into the company.

Wiz's technology, which helps online users customize websites, has been used around the world to build some 31.5 million sites. It uses a premium business model which gives users basic web-building tools and a domain for free but charges a monthly fee to operate the domain.

Data from IVC Online, which tracks Israeli startups, shows that Wix had $60 million in revenue last year, a figure that may well double in 2013 if the company continues to grow at its previous rate.

The company initially offered products to build websites in Flash, but last March launched a new product that uses HTML5. In October it introduced the Wix App Market, an application store for people who use Wix products. A month ago Wix announced a cooperative agreement with Google.

In 2011 Wix turned down a buyout offer that valued the company at more than $200 million.

Apart from Wix, there are at least five other Israeli Internet startups on the road to an IPO or some other major strategic move, the largest number since the end of the 1990s. Among them are the online marketing company Matomy Media Group, which had $230 million in revenue last year, and Landa, a nanography startup that was formed by Indigo founder Benny Landa and is seeking to raise $200 million in a private placement. 

​Estera Łazowska
Limor Adary
Ofer Vaknin