Shares of biometric screening company CLEAR began trading at $38.55 a piece in its market debut Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
CLEAR priced just over 13 million shares at $31 apiece on Tuesday, above its initial $27 to $30 price range, valuing the company at an estimated market cap of $4.5 billion.
The stock rose by as much as 35% in early trading, reaching a first day high above $41.
In February, the company announced a $100 million funding round with backers that included Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer, the NFL and the Partnership Fund for New York City.
The company has established itself as one of the leaders in biometric security services. A three-time CNBC Disruptor 50 company, CLEAR ranked No. 19 on this year’s list.
Founded in 2010 in New York, CLEAR initially got its start helping travelers speed through airport lines in the post-9/11 travel environment. Frequent fliers can purchase subscriptions for $179 a year, which also allows them to use the service at select sports stadiums and entertainment venues.
But as travel and airport traffic plummeted due to Covid-19, CLEAR made a move into biometric screening around coronavirus. The company launched a new product, Health Pass, that allows users who feel fine to pass quickly through checkpoints that screen for sick and infectious people. The technology was used at the Super Bowl and the app was used by one-third of NBA teams. CLEAR also retrofitted its kiosks at airports to take passenger temperatures.
CLEAR chairman and chief executive officer Caryn Seidman-Becker said the potential for the company to move beyond travel to places like office buildings, restaurants and stadiums presents “enormous opportunities.”
“My hope in a few years is that aviation is our smallest vertical, because the other ones are so much bigger,” Seidman-Becker said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday morning before shares started trading. “We just think there are extraordinary opportunities to bring the CLEAR platform to life and create frictionless journeys wherever you are really turning it into your daily habit.”
Seidman-Becker said she is “incredibly bullish on travel,” adding that she expects the return of both leisure and business travelers.
“If distance makes the heart grow fonder, people want to travel today more than ever,” Seidman-Becker said on CNBC. “I think business travel is going to come back, and it will come back in a slightly different way. It will come back not only with the road warriors but people who used to not travel who in a hybrid work environment are living all over the country.”
In its IPO prospectus, CLEAR disclosed that its revenue dropped 17% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the year earlier, which included two months of normal business prior to the pandemic. In 2020, CLEAR’s revenue rose 20% to $230.8 million, narrowing its net loss to $9.3 million from $54.2 million a year earlier.
CLEAR says that it has 5.6 million members and is in 38 airport locations. It also has 26 sports and entertainment partners.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo were the lead underwriters for CLEAR’s offering.
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