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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Did you read that report about the tech unicorn that's thinking about going public? No, not that one. The other one. No, the other one.

Between the lines: A large percentage of VC-backed companies with at least four years and $50 million of annualized revenue under their belts are speaking with bankers about going public. It's the rule, not the exception.

  • Caveat No. 1: Bankers are typically initiating these calls. And they often lead with the prospect of going public via SPAC, because bank fees on SPACs are often higher than on IPOs or direct listings.
  • Caveat No. 2: Just because a company is having banker talks — even if leaked to the press — it doesn't mean that a public listing is on the visible horizon. I'm told that "Q4 2022" is a very popular timeframe to discuss, because it's more about optionality than objective.

Income statement: Tech startups still need to show $100 million in revenue for a traditional IPO or direct listing, at least if they want to go with a big bank, but it can now be "a path" to $100 million rather than a demonstrated track record of $100 million. Profits remain largely irrelevant.

Big picture: 2021 is shaping up to be a banner year for all types of U.S. public listings. On Wednesday alone, three more companies will begin trading (including ZipReality via direct listing). So long as stonks keep stonking, it will continue into 2022 and beyond.

The bottom line: Believe everything you read about companies that are considering going public. But don't mark your calendar.

Go deeper

SPACs go to Congress

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

House lawmakers targeted SPACs during a hearing today following a year of unprecedented deal activity.

Why it matters: Congress may decide to draft new legislation that would take away one of the advantages of going public through SPACs versus a traditional IPO — the ability to make forward-looking statements.

Updated 17 mins ago - Health

White House acknowledges U.S. will miss July 4 vaccination goal

Fireworks in New York City to celebrate the state reaching a 70% vaccination rate. Photo: Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Biden administration acknowledged on Tuesday that it will likely miss its goal of vaccinating 70% of U.S. adults with at least one dose by July 4.

Why it matters: Despite falling short of the goal, the White House still believes most Americans will be safe to fully celebrate Independence Day, as COVID-19 cases and deaths remain at low levels throughout much of the country.

Exclusive: Quartz, NYT vets launch new media company about work

Photo credit: Emma Howells for Charter

Quartz co-founders Kevin Delaney and Jay Lauf, along with New York Times veteran Erin Grau, are launching a new media and services company called "Charter" that is centered around the future of work, the founders told Axios.

Why it matters: "There are other media companies that write about this topic — some occasionally and some more frequently, but it's one topic among many things that they do," Delaney said. "This is a driving focus for us."