It would seem that Square Inc. had a spectacular first day as a public company Thursday, with shares soaring 45%.
But that percentage gain looks less impressive when you consider the actual dollars the company took in.
The mobile payments and financial services company raised $243 million in cash in the initial public offering. But it could have taken in $351 million had it judged the public market more accurately. Originally seeking a price as high as $13, it ended up selling 27 million shares for $9 each, only to see the public bid the stock up to $13.07 at closing time on the New York Stock Exchange.
The gap between what investors are willing to pay and what start-ups...