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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.

  • Other companies expected to complete IPOs before Christmas include fintech Affirm, gaming platform Roblox and e-commerce company Wish.

State of play: There are over 500 "unicorns," or upstart companies that are valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists, according to CB Insights. More than half of those are based in the U.S., and around two dozen are valued at more than $5 billion.

  • Among some of the better known names are ByteDance (owner of TikTok), SpaceX, Instacart, Epic Games (maker of Fortnite), Coinbase and Stripe.
  • Then there are the lesser-known cloud software companies seeking to become the next DataDog or Snowflake — valued at a combined $4.6 billion entering 2020, now trading with combined market cap of $130 billion.

"The real story of 2020 is that it's just the preview for 2021, especially if there's a vaccine and the economy roars back," a tech IPO banker tells Axios.

  • Another banker, this one based in San Francisco, adds that he regularly participates in multiple "bake-offs" on the same day for large tech IPOs.

There's also been a recent boom in special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), which represent another way for startups to go public — including those that might not be ready to do a traditional IPO, like many of the uncommercialized electric vehicle makers.

  • Most of the SPACs formed in 2020 will seek out targets in 2021.

The bottom line: There used to be only a handful of unicorn IPOs per year, due to a limited pipeline, making each one a major Wall Street event. Those days are over.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

What to watch for in Tesla's Q4 earnings report

Data: FactSet; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Tesla will report Q4 2020 earnings after markets close today, with analysts expecting a sixth consecutive quarterly profit for the electric vehicle maker that was reeling just a few years ago.

Why it matters: Tesla is the country's dominant EV company, and its trajectory affects overall adoption of the tech, even as more and more models from other companies are hitting the market.

Biden warned Putin of specific "consequences" if Russia invades Ukraine

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."