Welcome to the new quarterly capital markets update for the U.S. and Canada.
2020 saw unexpectedly robust markets during the pandemic, and 2021 is already off to a similar start in both the U.S. and Canada. Now that we are halfway through March, the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) in the U.S. and their proceeds are tracking to exceed 2020 numbers.
U.S. IPO Activity
And one can’t mention the capital markets these days without also talking about special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), which have emerged as a source of significant capital for companies looking to go public in the U.S. As of March 15, 2021, there have already been more new SPACs than in all of 2020 raising the same amount as all SPACs did last year. It will be very interesting to watch this space and the number of the SPACs that announce their business acquisitions this year and their subsequent performances.
U.S. SPAC Activity
North of the border, the Canadian markets are equally thriving with record financings and IPOs. For both TSX and TSXV, a unique funding and listing platform for high growth U.S. companies, 2020 saw some incredible activities, including:
- Record year-end market cap of TSX and TSXV combined - C$3.5 trillion
- Largest tech IPOs in TSX history; C$1B raised by Nuvei in fall 2020, followed by TELUS International’s C$1.4B IPO in early 2021
- Record year for tech financings; C$8 billion in total
- 10 new life sciences listings; C$2.12B+ raised across 140 financings
- Cleantech companies; capital raised increased by 125% & trading volume by 71% (YoY)
- Index performance: The S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index* returned 52% last year (source: S&P), only outperformed by Bitcoin
In February 2021, TSX listed two of the world’s first bitcoin ETFs, with the launch of Purpose Bitcoin ETF (TSX:BTCC.B) and Evolve’s Bitcoin ETF (TSX:EBIT). The Purpose Bitcoin ETF has amassed more than C$990 million in assets under management since its launch (as of March 18, 2021).
This year has also seen increased interest by U.S. companies looking to Canada for their capital needs. Six companies in varying sectors have listed on TSX and TSXV in the first two months of 2021.
As many companies coming to market in hot sectors are seeing favorable valuations, if you are a high growth U.S. company looking to raise Series B+ capital, consider the public markets for your next raise. Companies with early revenue, a strong management team, and a growth strategy to eventually list on a U.S. exchange, can look to the Canadian capital markets as an alternative to private venture capital.
Finally, in acknowledgement of Women’s History Month, let’s recognize some history-making women CEOs in the public markets in both the U.S. and Canada. In February 2021, Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble, was the youngest woman to bring a company public in the U.S. raising US$2.2 billion in its IPO. This is impressive especially considering that just 6% of companies in the S&P 500Ⓡ have a female CEO.
In the SPAC sector, Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, a female-led SPAC began trading on Nasdaq in January 2021, followed up by Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital II, the second blank check company with an all-female team formed by VC Victoria Grace and Agility Logistics which filed in February 2021. On March 19th, Athena Technology Acquisition Corp rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange as the first all women SPAC to IPO on the NYSE.
In Canada, Shahrzad Rafati brought media company BBTV (TSX:BBTV) public through an IPO on TSX raising C$172 million, one of the top 10 tech TSX listings of all time and the first IPO on TSX with a sole female founder and CEO in the technology sector. In December, Kathy Casey became the latest female CEO of a TSXV company when Arizona-based PureK Holdings (TSXV:PKAN) listed through a Capital Pool Company.
Congratulations ladies… and hopefully many more to come!
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* The S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index (the “Index”) is the product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC or its affiliates ("SPDJI") and TSX Inc. ("TSX"). Standard & Poor's® and S&P® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC ("S&P"); Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC ("Dow Jones"); and TSX® is a registered trademark of TSX. SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P, their respective affiliates and TSX do not sponsor, endorse, sell or promote any products based on the Index and none of such parties make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product(s) nor do they have any liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions of the Index or any data related thereto.