What is an IPO? An IPO is a short version of Initial Public Offering. It is the process that allows a company to sell stock to the general public by being listed on a stock exchange. In order to become listed, a company must secure the services of a corporate lawyer. The Public Offering process is complex. It involves multiple stages from structuring shares for sale to establishing a working relationship with an investment bank. This is necessary to ensure regulatory compliance. Quality due diligence is a must.