There has been no shortage of debutantes on Wall Street lately. Dozens of companies went public last quarter — many of them names you know, or that you will know soon. These some of the more intriguing initial public offerings to come out of this past quarter.
El Pollo Loco (LOCO)
Fast casual has been the place to be for investing in the restaurant industry, and that helped pave the way for this California-based chain specializing in citrus-marinated chicken to go public in July at $15 a share. Investors won’t be impressed by its slow yet calculated expansion. It had grown from 398 locations to just 401 in the year leading up to its IPO.
However, El Pollo Loco’s store-level performance has been impressive. It posted a 5.4 percent increase in comparable-restaurant sales in its first quarter as a public company. That is certainly better than the average fast-food or casual-dining chain out there, once again validating the fast-casual model, where chains offer the convenience of fast food but the quality of traditional casual-dining restaurants.
The push to develop self-driving cars is really getting traction, a fact that became even more apparent last week when Tesla (TSLA) showed off an updated sedan that uses a dozen sensors to do everything from adjusting speed in accordance with speed limit signs when it’s on cruise control to switching lanes automatically when the sensors see an opening in traffic after the driver triggers the turn signal.
But clever sensors notwithstanding, self-driving cars won’t happen without serious software, and that’s where Mobileye comes in. The Israeli company provides software and chips for camera-based advanced driver assistance systems. This will likely become a competitive market in the future, but for now Mobileye is seen as a leading pioneer in self-driving vehicles. Its share price has roughly doubled since it went public at $25 just two months ago.