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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Snowflake, a Silicon Valley cloud data warehousing company, on Tuesday night raised $3.4 billion in what is the largest software IPO ever.

Between the lines: Snowflake loses money, but got a big boost of confidence when Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway agreed to invest $500 million concurrent to the IPO.

Rocket ship: Snowflake raised venture capital in early 2018 at a $1.5 billion valuation, to help it compete in the red-hot business of helping companies move their legacy workloads into the cloud.

  • The IPO values Snowflake at over $44 billion, with indicative bids suggesting it could open at double its $120-per-share IPO price.
  • Update: Snowflake shares opened at $245 per share, and then began trading even higher.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Dec 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

Windfall IPO profits exceed dot-com bubble record

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When is making billions of dollars easier than falling off a log? The answer: When giant Wall Street firms like BlackRock and Fidelity get allocated large chunks of stock in white-hot companies. The following day those shares end up being worth vastly more than the investors paid for them.

Why it matters: More money has been made this way in 2020 than in any prior year, even including the height of the dot-com bubble in 2000.

  • Major companies are postponing their IPOs as a result, worried that they'd effectively be giving billions of dollars away to undeserving investors.
Updated 3 mins ago - Science

China launches first astronauts to new space station

The manned Shenzhou-12 spacecraft from China's Manned Space Agency onboard the Long March-2F rocket launches at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, on Thursday morning Beijing time. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China's Shenzhou 12 mission carrying three astronauts launched into orbit on Thursday morning Beijing time.

Why it matters: Astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo are set to occupy China's new space station. This will be the country's longest crewed space mission ever and the first in almost five years.

Biden's two-step negotiating process

President Biden departs Geneva. Photo: Martial Trezzini/Pool/AFP via Getty

President Biden's summit "reset" was less about trying to make a friend out of Russia than reframing what the U.S. believes can be accomplished by engaging with President Vladimir Putin.

Driving the news: The Geneva meeting yielded no immediate breakthroughs beyond agreements about ambassadors returning to work and plans to launch talks on nuclear security. But in classic Biden fashion — aviators on, jacket off and a one-liner about invading Russia he had to clarify was a joke — the U.S. president used a post-summit news conference to explain his approach.