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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

Venture capitalist Bill Gurley says more companies are going public due to pressure

Photo: Axios

Venture capitalist Bill Gurley said at an Axios event Wednesday that more companies are starting to go public after staying private longer and seeing capital pile up.

Why it matters: Within the past year, many companies have filed to go public — either via IPOs or SPACs — including eyewear brand Warby Parker, Bowlero, the owners of Forever 21 and Aeropostle, AppHarvest and more.

Robinhood is a crypto trading platform

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Retail traders love trading cryptocurrency.

Why it matters: Robinhood gained popularity as a brokerage app offering commission-free stock trading. But the company's recent performance suggests the current crop of retail traders are more interested in cryptocurrencies than stocks.

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."