Companies That Had Their IPO in 2021: Bull Market and SPAC Mania

1 minutes reading time
Published 15 Apr 2024
Author: Emil Persson
Reviewed by: Kasper Karlsson

The market sentiment and IPO landscape in 2021 were significantly influenced by the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, buoyed by extensive economic stimulus measures across the globe. This backdrop fostered a climate of optimism and investor enthusiasm, driving a notable surge in IPO activity. Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) emerged as a dominant force, offering an alternative pathway to the public markets for many businesses and significantly contributing to the overall IPO volume. The year also highlighted the global nature of the IPO boom, with substantial activity not just in the United States but across global markets as well.

Key Insights

  • Bull market: The market continued its upward momentum from the previous year.

  • A record-breaking amount of IPOs: There was a record number of IPOs throughout 2021 as the market sentiment was favorable and investors were eager to back public offerings.

  • SPAC domination: The flurry of activity in the IPO market was in large part driven by Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs).

2021 Marked a Bullish Market Sentiment

The stock market's bullish performance in 2021 can be attributed to a confluence of factors that collectively fostered investor confidence and drove market indices upwards. At the core, the global economy was in a recovery phase from the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Governments and central banks worldwide implemented unprecedented fiscal and monetary policies to counteract the economic fallout from the pandemic. These measures included significant stimulus packages to support unemployed workers and struggling businesses, as well as aggressive quantitative easing programs to maintain liquidity in the financial system.

Moreover, low interest rates throughout 2021 made borrowing cheaper for businesses and consumers, stimulating spending and investment. For investors, the low-interest-rate environment reduced the appeal of bonds and other fixed-income investments, making equities a more attractive option and pushing more capital into the stock market.

However, the bullish market of 2021 also faced its challenges, including concerns over inflation, potential changes in monetary policy, and the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains. Despite these headwinds, the combination of economic recovery, policy support, technological growth, and low interest rates provided a strong foundation for the stock market's overall positive performance during the year.

A Flurry of IPOs

The initial public offering market experienced a significant surge in activity throughout 2021, marking a record-breaking year for companies choosing to go public. This boom in IPOs was underpinned by a highly favorable market sentiment, where investors demonstrated an eagerness to support new public offerings. This enthusiasm among investors was not just a reflection of the recovering economy but also an indication of the high levels of liquidity in the market, searching for promising investment opportunities.


A notable trend that dominated the 2021 IPO landscape was the remarkable rise of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs). SPACs, often referred to as "blank check" companies, are essentially shell corporations designed to take companies public without going through the traditional IPO process. They have been around for decades but saw unprecedented growth during this period, contributing significantly to the flurry of IPO activity. This phenomenon was largely driven by the speed and flexibility that SPACs offer, providing an attractive alternative for businesses looking to enter the public markets more swiftly and with potentially less regulatory scrutiny compared to the conventional IPO route.

The SPAC mechanism involves raising funds through an initial public offering with the purpose of acquiring a private company, thereby enabling the acquired company to be publicly listed. This method has attracted a wide array of companies, from electric vehicle startups to fintech firms, and has also garnered the interest of high-profile investors and sponsors. The ease of going public through a SPAC, combined with the robust appetite of investors for new growth-oriented companies, propelled the volume of SPAC deals to new heights. Several of the largest IPOs during 2021, with SoFi and Lucid Motors being two prime examples, were conducted through SPACs.

The Largest IPO of 2021

The EV company Rivian Automotive went public on the Nasdaq on the 9th of November 2021 and was the largest IPO of the year. The public offering was conducted during a time when the hype for EVs on the public market was incredibly strong, in part driven by the exceptional performance of Tesla stock. At the time of Rivians IPO it did not yet have a vehicle in production, but what it did have was a strong pipeline and an already agreed-upon order from Amazon for the manufacture of delivery vehicles.

Other Notable IPOs in 2021

While Rivian was the largest, and in many ways the most anticipated IPO of the year. It was far from being the only high-profile company to go public in 2021, with a healthy mix of sectors represented on the IPO market.


The Brazilian neobank Nubank was listed on the Nasdaq in 2021 but only offers its services in South and Central America.


The popular dating app Bumble went public in 2021. It is one of the few competitors to Match Group, which owns platforms such as Tinder and Hinge.

Dr. Martens

The Iconic boot manufacturer Dr. Martens was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2021, with a very fitting ticker: DOCS.

Toast Inc

Toast Inc., which provides all-encompassing payment solutions for restaurants, conducted its IPO in September 2021.


Duolingo was listed on the Nasdaq in 2021, and the stock soared 36% on its first day of trading.

Dutch Bros

The drive-through coffee chain Dutch Bros was listed on the NYSE in September of 2021.

Hertz Global Holdings

The parent company of Hertz and several other car rental chains went public in 2021.

Robinhood Markets

Robinhood Markets, which has become one of the most popular apps for investing amongst retail investors in the U.S. had its IPO in late July of 2021.

Further reading: WeBull vs RobinHood: Which Platform Suits You?

Summarizing 2021

The stock market in 2021 experienced a bullish phase due to a global economic rebound from the COVID-19 downturn, driven by substantial fiscal and monetary policies, including stimulus packages and quantitative easing. Low interest rates encouraged investment in equities over bonds, despite challenges like inflation concerns and supply chain issues. The year also saw a record number of initial public offerings (IPOs), buoyed by high market liquidity, investor optimism, and SPACs.

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