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Unprofitable Dropbox went public earlier this year. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Eighty-three percent of U.S. IPOs this year have involved unprofitable issuers, which represents an all-time high, according to data from University of Florida finance professor Jay Ritter (first reported by the WSJ).

Why it matters: The previous record was in 2000 (81%), just before the dot-com crash.

So is this internet bust 2.0?

Maybe. Seriously, let's not entirely discount that possibility just because everyone keeps assuring us the companies have "real" business models and internet adoption is now ubiquitous. I find it highly unlikely, but skepticism is always worthwhile when investors march in talking point lockstep ("this time is different").

  • Expect the percentage to only grow, as all five of this week's expected IPOs are unprofitable. (Note: Ritter doesn't include SPACs in his data, so I excluded Arya Sciences, which is also expected to price this week.)

The silver linings, however, are also compelling.

One is that the actual percentage of unprofitable tech issuers is a bit lower in 2018 than in 2000, with the difference largely made up by a surge in biotech listings. Another is that the average VC-backed company is much older at IPO in 2018 than it was in 2000, suggesting more maturity and a greater likelihood of working its way out of troubles.

Bottom line: The percentage of money-losing companies going public isn't something to panic over, but it's also not something to ignore.

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump tells confidants he plans to pardon Michael Flynn

Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

President Trump has told confidants he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: Sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said Flynn will be part of a series of pardons that Trump issues between now and when he leaves office.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
4 hours ago - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.

Trump gives Biden access to presidential intelligence briefings

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump White House on Tuesday gave President-elect Biden access to daily presidential intelligence briefings, a source familiar with the matter tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has refused to share the briefs until now, as he continues to challenge the result of the election and declines to concede. The president's acquiescence comes as another sign that the transition to a Biden administration is taking place.