Of course, startups are also going the same route that has been popular for the past decade: Continuing to raise venture funds or convertible debt from the same group of Sand Hill Road investors. That habit is leading to a much older crop of companies going public: Roku, for example, was a decade old when it went public and investment bankers began calling on the company to go public as long ago as 2012 .
"As these unicorns get older and larger, there is a pull between investors and management," said Rohit Kulkarni, managing director, private investment research at SharesPost, a private secondary market.
Whether any of the big-name startups like Uber and Airbnb go public before they are as mature as Roku is an important question for 2018 and beyond. In many cases, public investors appear to be missing out on the biggest growth spurts, but getting the chance to invest at a more rational valuation.
As Daniels of Nextstep noted, "The public is now the smarter investor than the private investor."