CLEAR files S-1 for IPO as post-pandemic travel rises

Clear clients Ken Cornick and Caryn Seidman-Becker.


CLEAR, the company best known for helping travelers traverse airport security lines, filed its IPO prospectus on Monday, saying that business is picking up as vaccinations increase.

Revenue for the New York-based company rose 20% last year to $ 230.8 million. The net loss decreased from $ 54.2 million to $ 9.3 million. The company plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “YOU”.

CLEAR’s biometric security service was launched in 2010 and is popular with frequent flyers who purchase subscriptions for $ 179 per year. In addition to being able to use airport lines, subscribers can also use the service in sports stadiums and entertainment venues.

In the first quarter of 2021, sales were down 17% from the same period last year, which included two months of normal business before the pandemic. The volume of domestic air passengers in the US plunged 60% in 2020 and total bookings were down 11%, according to the company.

“We anticipate that Covid-19 will continue to adversely affect our airport registrations and business in 2021 and possibly beyond,” CLEAR said in its prospectus.

However, as more people get vaccinated and concerts, sporting events and conferences return, CLEAR’s business will recover. And for some activities, guests have to digitally submit their Covid vaccination or test status in order to be admitted.

In May, after airport trips slumped, CLEAR launched the Health Pass, an important new feature in the company’s iOS and Android apps that securely stores Covid information such as test results or vaccination cards. Verifying that all participants tested negative should reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Since the inception of Health Pass, it has grown in importance in stadiums for sporting events where the status of many people needs to be checked quickly. In February, 100 vaccinated health care workers were able to participate in the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida by verifying their status through the Health Pass. A third of the NBA teams use the app to enforce their Covid protocols for fans, and people participating in National Hockey League games in Arizona also use the Health Pass.

CLEAR is poised to be the latest New York company to hit the public market, joining a growing list that includes names like Etsy, MongoDB, and Peloton. While the biggest deals tend to come from Silicon Valley and San Francisco, 2021 will be a blockbuster year for New York as DigitalOcean, UiPath and Compass have already gone public.

In February, CLEAR announced a $ 100 million round of funding, including investment firms affiliated with Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer, the NFL, and the Partnership Fund for New York City.

CLEAR was ranked 19th on this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list. The company hired Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo to lead the offering.

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