SPACs Democratizing Access to Private Tech Companies

The 176 recent Tech SPACs in the market are breaking open the private equity world to allow the younger and sometimes more speculative companies into the public markets. PE, later stage VC, and strategics are no longer the only option.

Simultaneously, the oceans of cash in pensions, hedge funds, institutional investors, family offices, and Robinhood accounts can now play in the early stage technology company arena – it’s a brave new world.

Do not get me wrong! This is a much higher-risk world of investing, where single investments and companies can crash and burn overnight. You are not investing in Disney-type companies.

The results so far are spectacular. The 41 announced or closed Tech SPACs are up 60%, with only 3 below their $10 issue price. Valuations are up and stock performance is slightly down on recent SPAC deals. The 27 closed deals are up 76%, with a 7.3x revenue multiple, and the 14 announced deals are up 43%, with a 13.7x revenue multiple.

There have been 16 Tech SPAC filings in the last two weeks, including Thoma’s $900M SPAC. The median raise is $225M, down from $284M on the most recently closed SPACs, and the warrants are trending from 1/2 to zero. In fact, Thoma filed their IPO with 1/5 warrants, then filed an amendment taking public warrants down to zero – telling! The median EV is down slightly from $1.7B to $1.5B, and this trend should continue because median SPAC proceeds are coming down. SoFi just announced at ~$9B EV, up 60%, and Achronix at $2B, up 12%. Interesting that SoFi was announced just 3 months after completing their IPO. The 27 closed SPACs were announced roughly 16 months from IPO, and the 14 announced SPACs were 7 months. Expect more SPACs to be finding and announcing their acquisitions at a faster pace, as the SPAC market gets more fluid and institutionalized.

With 41 Tech SPACs announced or closed and 135 in or soon to be in the market for acquisitions, we have massive experimentation for this new world of earlier stage public tech companies. We are already seeing deal size getting smaller, driven by far more acquisition targets at sub-$1.5B values. The public warrants are trending down or going away completely. Announced valuations are going up, which may have a dampening effect on aftermarket performance and hedge fund and institutional investor demand. The common and core mission for sponsors, PIPE investors, and acquired companies should be to fund quality tech companies ready for the public limelight that are priced for success.