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Astera Labs First Look

Our first look at the Astera Labs ALAB IPO. They provide interconnect solutions based on PCIe and Ethernet. Their management software could give them an edge. Pricing on March 19.

Where might this one go post pricing?

the raft of "AI Infrastructure" IPOs. Any major upgrade to a part of system architecture (like powerful GPU-centric computing) creates pressure on other parts to adapt and scale—bigger, faster memories, faster networks, and, in some cases, different methods for moving, storing, and/or manipulating data.

Putting a giant engine in a small car forces you to consider upgrading the suspension, brakes, tires, and even the engine controls. If you get all new furniture for your living room, you suddenly need to paint the walls and get new carpets and drapes.

Many companies will see an uptick in related demand thanks to the AI surge. The rising tide won't lift all boats, and some that do benefit might not last. That said, many investors are eager to find Nvidia "derivative plays" that are linked closely enough to offer durable investment returns. One of the most obvious winners has been SuperMicro $SMCI, which has vaulted itself into the S&P 500. Maybe "AI server at the edge" player One Stop Systems $OSS will get swept up in the mêlée.

Astera Labs $ALAB provides semiconductors for connectivity and managing the interconnections between devices in a system and, in some cases, beyond.

Let's look at the Astera Labs deal and the positioning and see how this one stacks up. I wouldn't call this a "lipstick on a pig" situation, but you can tell that no expense was spared to dress it up for investors.

The Deal

As if anticipating an early hype cycle the deal has a early lock-up release "if the stock is up over 25% for 5 out of 10 consecutive trading days leading up to and including the first earnings announcement."

This wrinkle also provides some extra incentive to keep the IPO price low and ensure a high initial "pop" that might have enough staying power for employees to sell stock.

The Initial Range is $27-30, with 18M shares, MS and JPM on the books, and 10 other banks along for the ride. At the midpoint, the deal size is just over $500M.

That puts the market cap at $4.4B (154M shares) on a $200M revenue run rate. That's also over $16M per employee (currently 265).

Future dilution will include ~40M more shares over time from options, stock grants, a few warrants, and the ESPP.

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