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Topgolf plans an IPO - and its alternative data is to die FORE!

1 month ago by Jon Marino in Markets

Topgolf ($TOPGOLF) took the already-appealing concept of golf, shortened it, made it more accessible to just about anyone, threw in a full bar and now has trajectory in place to take it to public markets, in the form of an IPO, Reuters reported

We lead off with a Topgolf locations map - as the company reportedly scopes out banks to prep its IPO, it also continues to scope out large chunks of land where its driving-range-turned-happy hour concept is accessible - and reasonably priced. Reuters notes that the company is in the midst of international expansion, and that Topgolf already has more than 50 US locations built in roughly 20 years by founders and twin brothers Steve and Dave Jolliffe. 

Topgolf has grown to a value of more than $3 billion, thanks to roughly $650 million in backing from a potent combo of investors including LBO shop Providence Equity Partners, as well as sporting goods company Callaway Golf ($NYSE:ELY). And, all that cash has helped not just fuel dozens of new locations, but a spree of hiring to keep all these locations running in Topgolf-shape. Our chart tracks LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:MSFT) Employee Count, and we can spot an increase of 24% over 2019. 

Topgolf's hiring of 'hourly' staffers rose year-over-year, is what the chart above can tell us. Our data breaks out hiring by category - we can also track events team hiring (up slightly in 2019) and management posts (down a bit this year) as Topgolf reportedly spruces up for its public market debut, not yet scheduled. More substantive increases in hiring will likely reflect further expansion ambitions. 

Believe it or not, charts #2 and #4 are not the same - one tracks growing headcount, and the other, is a metric we can use to gauge foot traffic (which also reflects that Topgolf has had a least a million visitors, who are also Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) users, visiting and being tracked by the app for its Were Here Count. Both this, and Topgolf's Facebook Talking About Count (not shown) reflect a healthy level of social attention for a growing business, and that's something investors current and future should be happy for (FORE!).

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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