Impinj Backs Away from IPO, Raises $21.6M from Private Sources

Impinj, a Seattle-based seller of radio-frequency ID devices, is withdrawing its bid for an initial public stock offering and has instead raised $21.6 million from private investors.

Impinj first filed its IPO registration papers in April 2011, seeking up to $100 million. But the 12-year-old company hadn’t updated that paperwork since July 2011, and there were questions about whether Impinj intended to go through with an IPO amid uncertainty in the U.S. markets and global economic troubles.

Today, we get an answer. In its filing with federal regulators, Impinj requested withdrawal of its registration papers because it “does not intend to pursue the contemplated public offering … at this time.”

In a separate filing, Impinj also reported that it has sold about $21.6 million in equity. In a press release, Impinj says the round was led by existing investors, including AllianceBernstein L.P., ARCH Venture Partners, GF Private Equity Group, Intel, Madrona Venture Group, Mobius Venture Capital, and Polaris Venture Partners. Impinj also says it expects the round to grow to $24 million after some additional equity sales.

Impinj says that the new financing “fulfills the company’s capital needs for the foreseeable future,” but that it intends to file for an IPO again at some point under the new JOBS Act procedures. The JOBS Act allows companies under $1 billion in annual sales to file for public offerings with fewer audits and public disclosures, among other provisions.

With the new financing, Impinj has raised some $135 million, Chief Financial Officer Evan Fein says.

In its IPO paperwork filing, Impinj showed mixed financial performance in the past few years. The company went from about $25 million in revenue in 2008 to about $21 million in 2009, before bouncing back to about $32 million in 2010. Impinj also wasn’t profitable at the time of the filing, showing a loss of about $11 million for 2010. Fein declined on Thursday to discuss how much runway the new round of financing would give Impinj.

Founded in 2000 by University of Washington professor Chris Diorio, Impinj has been a survivor, sticking it out through recessions and a period of faltering growth in the RFID market.

The RFID industry comprises tags, readers, and software that, together, enable wireless communication via tiny embedded chips. That network of chips and sensors allow people and businesses to gather information about everything from the location and status of product inventory on shelves to runners in a marathon.

The technology had early promise in the field of inventory management, but didn’t break into mainstream use very quickly after the first wave of expectations. The next arena of possibilities for RFID technology could have a lot to do with smartphones and other consumer electronics that are able to detect and navigate RFID networks, but those devices are still in the earliest phases of introduction as well.

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