The Meaning of IPO: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you heard the acronym IPO be used in banking and stocks? This article will teach you the meaning of IPO and how to get started investing.

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You have to spend money to make money, as the saying goes. If you’re trying to learn more about the stock market, money management, and how to maximize your earnings, the acronym IPO might be very important for you. Read on to learn more about what IPO means and how it can help you grow your wealth. 

What Does IPO Stand For?

According to Investopedia, the term IPO stands for initial public offering. In an initial public offering, a private corporation offers shares of a new stock issuance to the public. This is a transitory step in changing from a private company to a public company. Usually, existing investors or shareholders can get a share premium on their number of shares of stock on the stock market.

Potential investors can purchase new shares of stock for a set share price in an IPO. An institutional investor or individual investors can purchase shares before the company goes on the open market or public market, where the company’s shares live. These can also be used as a way for founders, private shareholders, and early investors to see a profit from their initial investment.

Going public allows company insiders to increase their earning potential with IPO shares and trading on the public market. As the stock price or offering price goes up and down on the stock exchange, buyers can gain or lose money based on the valuation of the issued shares. 

Stock trading can be scary since your investment does not stay at a fixed price or range, but people can also make a lot of money on the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and more.

An IPO stock might have an IPO price that is a different price than the public shares after the stock is on the market. The issuing companies set these prices, and the estimates of what these shares might be worth in the future can vary. Different advisors can guide you into your first day of stock trading, but every banker knows there is never a guarantee with the stock market. 

How Does an IPO Work?

When a company decides to go public, a lead underwriter brings together broker dealers, a brokerage, and investment banks to sell shares of the IPO. Usually, the starting investors of a company are the founders, friends, and family of the founders, and angel investors or venture capitalists.

In order to hold an IPO, there are eligibility requirements from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that a private corporation must meet. In the underwriting agreement, the company chooses the underwriters and then composes its team of CPAs, lawyers, and SEC experts.

What Are Other Meanings of IPO? 

When people are talking about the stock market or businesses going public, it is likely that they are going to use the term IPO to stand for initial public offer. On the other hand, if you are in a situation or context where this meaning of IPO does not make sense, this person might be using IPO to stand for something else. 

With this list of potential meanings of the word IPO from The Free Dictionary, you will be able to learn what IPO might stand for in a variety of fields and subjects.

Meanings of IPO in Technology

If you work in the field of technology, the term IPO might stand for several different things, from computer science terms to engineering terms:

  • Inter Procedural Optimization
  • Input Process Output
  • Inter Procedural Optimization (Intel C++ Compiler)
  • Input, Processing, and Output (requirements of a program)
  • In-Place-Optimization
  • Internet Protocol Over Optical (IETF)
  • Internet Powered by Oracle
  • Intervening Protection Optical (Pirelli)

Meanings of IPO in the Government and the Military

In the military and the government, IPO has several different potential meanings. These also might vary based on where you are in the country or around the world. 

  • Intellectual Property Office
  • International Programs Office (US Navy)
  • Indian Patent Office (India)
  • Interagency Program Office (US DoD and US VA)
  • Iowa Publications Online (State Library of Iowa)
  • International Program Office (US DoD)
  • Investment Promotion Office (various organizations)
  • Indian Postal Order
  • Industrial Property Officer (NASA)
  • Interim Possession Order (property rights; UK)
  • Institutional Program Office
  • Instrument Project Office
  • Individual Performance Objective
  • Information Protection Office (USAF)
  • Industrial Preparedness Operations
  • Industry Portfolio Office (Canada)
  • Indirect Program Office
  • Information Programs Office (US State Department)
  • Indian Intellectual Property Office
  • Integrated Product Ownership (defense program management)

Meanings of IPO in Business

Businesses and organizations can also use IPO to stand for many different things. Depending on the business, field, or organization, IPO could stand for any number of these different meanings. 

  • Initial Purchase Order (various companies)
  • Illustrative Purposes Only
  • International Procurement Office
  • International Purchasing Office
  • Investing Pays Off (Merrill Lynch)
  • Internal Purchase Order
  • Independent Program Oversight (consulting)
  • Import Power Online
  • Individual Pays Own (meeting planning)
  • Independent Pharmacists of Ontario (Canada)
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association (Washington, DC USA)
  • Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Interprovinciaal Overleg (Netherlands)
  • Illinois Periodicals Online
  • Intellectual Property Organization
  • International Project Office
  • Irish Poker Open (tournament; Ireland)
  • International Permanent Observatory (on Security During Major Events; UNICRI)
  • Instituto Português de Oncologia (Portuguese: Portuguese Institute of Oncology)
  • International Progress Organization
  • Islamic Propagation Organization
  • IGES/PDES Organization
  • Improved Pregnancy Outcome
  • Independent Practice Organization
  • International Pasta Organization
  • International Pact Organization
  • Instrumental Performing Organization (The Hartt School, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT)
  • International Press Organization
  • International Powerlifting Organization


The term IPO is an acronym that stands for initial public offering. This is when a private corporation offers shares of a new stock issuance to the public after the company has decided to go public but before it is officially on the public market. This is a chance to find new investors and for existing investors to make a profit. This can either look like taking their investment shares out or investing in the company for the first time.


  1. Initial Public Offering (IPO) Definition | Investopedia 
  2. IPO | The Free Dictionary 
  3. Investor Bulletin: Investing in an IPO | SEC