1. Weber

Weber barbecue with meat on it, grilling.
Martin Steiger / Wikimedia Commons

“Grate” news for grill enthusiasts: Weber, a maker of charcoal, electric and gas barbecues, will be going public this summer.

The company's been around since the early 1950s and was bought in 2010 by BDT Capital Partners LLC, which helped fund its expansion, especially internationally.

The pandemic hasn’t hurt business, either. With everyone spending more time at home, Weber reported a 62% year-over-year boom in revenue, looking at the six-month period ending in March.

The company filed IPO paperwork on July 12 and included a report suggesting Weber owns 25% of the outdoor cooking-products market category globally.

Weber is expected to start trading in early August with a target valuation of about US$5 billion, according to Reuters.

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2. Discord

Discord booth at a show.
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Discord was born in 2015 when two gamers found it challenging to stay in touch while playing together online.

They found the tools available at the time slow, unreliable and complex. So they built their own.

Initially, Discord was purely intended to connect gamers, giving them a platform for instant messaging, video calls and voice calls. But people have started using it for everything from local hiking clubs to arts communities to study groups.

Last year, to help it expand outside of the gaming community, Discord raised US$100 million from investors.

With COVID-19 forcing everyone to connect from a distance, Discord’s user base skyrocketed to 140 million by the end of 2020. Revenues for the year hit US$130 million — nearly a 200% increase from the year before.

After a US$12 billion Microsoft takeover fell through, the next step for Discord could be an IPO. There’s no timeline for now, but hopeful investors should watch for an announcement later this year.

3. Stripe

Shot of workers using laptop with Stripe, seen from above and behind.
Stripe

Yet another trend that benefited from the pandemic: digital payments.

Online shopping is more popular than ever, and many people can now envision a cashless future. Stripe, a payment processing platform, is positioned to reach new heights as the shift in consumer behaviour continues.

Stripe helps companies of all sizes accept digital transactions — and big companies are certainly represented. Stripe powers the transactions of heavyweights like Amazon, Lyft, Instacart and Pinterest.

It’s currently the most valuable private company in Silicon Valley, with a valuation of US$95 billion.

In early July, Reuters reported sources familiar with the matter say the company is taking its first major step towards a stock market debut by hiring a law firm to help with preparations — but added the listing may not happen this year.

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4. Authentic Brands Group

SINGAPORE - OCT 19 : Forever 21 Store at ION Orchard shopping mall on October 19, 2014
March Marcho / Shutterstock

This retail conglomerate buys up struggling brands with name recognition like Barneys New York, Nine West, Forever 21 and Aeropostale.

It also owns Sports Illustrated and the intellectual property of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley.

It was launched in 2010 by CEO Jamie Salter, who invested US$250 million of his own funds. Today, Authentic Brands Group is backed by big-name investor BlackRock, as well as General Atlantic and Leonard Green & Partners, a top private equity firm.

Authentic Brands Group filed its initial paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 6. It’s expected to go public in August, when it could achieve a valuation of up to US$10 billion.

5. Rivian

Unveiling of Rivian electric vehicle SUV.
Richard Truesdell / Wikimedia Commons

This California-based company is a leader in the field of autonomous electric vehicles and could give Tesla, Lucid and Nikola a run for their money.

With the help of powerful backers like Amazon and Ford, the company plans to seriously disrupt the automotive market. In its most recent round of fundraising, Rivian received US$2.65 billion from investors.

After years of research and development, the company is launching two vehicles in 2021: a pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle. On top of that, Amazon will receive 100,000 commercial delivery vans.

Rivian’s IPO is expected in the second half of 2021, possibly September. The deal could be worth up to US$70 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg.

6. Chime

iPhone with Chime app open and Chime debit card on top.
Chime

Chime’s mass appeal is pretty clear: It takes just minutes to set up fee-free mobile banking. You don’t even need a credit check.

Investors see potential, too. Last fall, the company managed to raise US$485 million to put it at a valuation of US$14.5 billion — making it the most valuable U.S. consumer fintech company; surpassing even Robinhood at the time.

A February study estimated the app has 12 million users.

Chime’s chief executive Chris Britt has previously declined to comment on when the IPO may come but did say last September that he was aiming to have the company ready within 12 months. That means an IPO could come as early as the fall.

7. Instacart

Woman shopping in an Instacart t-shirt in a grocery store, wearing mask.
Instacart

When COVID-19 first descended, most companies faced a pretty grim forecast of layoffs, furloughs and bankruptcies.

But some were perfectly positioned for a dramatic shift in consumer behaviour. Instacart, the online grocery delivery company, is one of those companies.

It’s now partnered with nearly 600 retailers to provide delivery from nearly 45,000 locations across Canada and the U.S. And after its most recent round of funding, Instacart is valued at US$39 billion — up from just US$7.9 billion in 2018.

An IPO is still only in the rumor stage; there haven’t yet been any filings or announcements. However, according to Forbes, if it does go public this year, it could be one of the biggest IPOs of 2021, as some believe it could be worth as much as US$50 billion.

8. Nextdoor

Senior woman with face mask in house quarantine talks to neighbor at safety distance
Gulliver20 / Shutterstock

Feeling a bit distant from your neighbours these days? Rather than getting tangled up in broad-reach sites like Facebook, some have turned to neighbourhood apps like Nextdoor to replace their block parties.

On Nextdoor, you can sell your old television, ask for advice on where to find the best deals or report a wily coyote roaming around the area.

Nextdoor says the app now includes more than 275,000 neighbourhoods, spanning 11 countries.

The company isn’t going public in a traditional IPO. In early July, it announced it will merge with Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. II (KVSB), which is already listed on the Nasdaq.

The merger, expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter, values Nextdoor at US$4.3 billion and would generate about US$686 million in gross proceeds.

9. GitLab

Screenshot of GitLab page.
Gitlab / Wikimedia Commons

GitLab, a site that helps developers share and manage code, had IPO aspirations as far back as 2017.

Before COVID hit, the company had planned to go public in November 2020. But with the economy in turmoil, GitLab put an IPO on hold.

Co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij told CNBC last summer “we will go out when we and the markets are ready.”

Late last year, the company let some employees sell a portion of their equity in an offering that valued GitLab at more than US$6 billion, CNBC reported at the time.

While Sijbrandij told the network he doesn’t have an IPO timeline, sources told the news site late last year that it was likely to come in 2021.

10. The Fresh Market

Storefront of the Fresh Market store at night.
Miosotis Jade / Wikimedia Commons

Five years after the once publicly traded company went private, it’s taking another swing at public life.

In March 2016, struggling to compete in the gourmet grocery market against major competitors, The Fresh Market accepted a US$1.36 billion cash buyout from a private-equity firm.

For the past three years, The Fresh Market has focused on strengthening its core business, opting to pause new store openings. Now it plans to resume expansion and is improving its offerings, including ready-to-make meal kits and same-day delivery through Instacart or curbside pickup.

IPO specialist Renaissance Capital estimates The Fresh Market could fetch up to US$250 million in its IPO.

11. Databricks

Databricks logo.
Agrawroh / Wikimedia Commons

Databricks, a software company founded by the creators of Apache Spark, helps big companies manage big data. Think machine learning and business analytics.

Since its inception in 2013, Databricks has acquired a customer base of more than 5,000 companies, such as Shell, HSBC, CVS Health and Comcast.

The company raised US$1 billion in its latest funding round earlier this year. It’s now valued at US$28 billion.

There’s no firm date on when to expect Databricks’ IPO, but observers believe it’s aiming to go public this year.

12. ThoughtSpot

Hand holding up phone with ThoughtSpot logo on it.
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Having founded two billion-dollar tech companies, ThoughtSpot founder Ajeet Singh may just be the Augur of AI.

His first company, Nutanix, a cloud infrastructure and services firm, was founded in 2009 and went public in 2016. But Singh had already moved on at that point to launch ThoughtSpot in 2012, based on a gut feeling about what was going to be the next big trend.

ThoughtSpot focuses on analytics and AI, creating a platform for organizations to set up sophisticated dashboards and find “hidden knowledge” pulled from various sources of data.

While you may not know ThoughtSpot, you’ve probably heard of some of its big-name clients like Walmart, DeBeers, Hulu and OpenTable.

Onlookers expect ThoughtSpot’s IPO to happen this fall. The company was last valued at around US$1.95 billion in 2019.

How to actually invest in an IPO

Happy young wife showing cellphone to laughing husband.
fizkes / Shutterstock

Who doesn’t love a good launch party? With a bunch of exciting companies looking to go public, this could be the year to finally take part.

Typically, buying into an IPO is reserved for the big banks and high-net-worth investors. One newly public company — you guessed it, Robinhood — is helping ordinary American investors join in through an "IPO Access" feature, but Canadians aren't invited.

Trading platforms available here, like Questrade, Scotia iTrade and Wealthsimple, can't offer IPO access because the U.S. firms that underwrite the IPOs typically don't file the necessary paperwork in Canada.

But Canadian investors can use those, and many other discount brokerage platforms, to buy shares in these new issues once the IPO is over and the company has officially gone public — which can be as soon as the same day.

What's more, those platforms can get Canadians in on home-grown IPOs across tech, agriculture and resource sectors ... and more.

Or, if you’re concerned about the hype around IPOs and the challenges of stock picking in general, you might be more comfortable using a robo-advisor to automatically build and balance a diversified portfolio. Some apps even allow you to invest using your “spare change” from everyday purchases.

Fine art as an investment

Stocks can be volatile, cryptos make big swings to either side, and even gold is not immune to the market’s ups and downs.

That’s why if you are looking for the ultimate hedge, it could be worthwhile to check out a real, but overlooked asset: fine art.

Contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.

And it’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market.

On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12 during the past 25 years.

Earlier this year, Bank of America investment chief Michael Harnett singled out artwork as a sharp way to outperform over the next decade — due largely to the asset’s track record as an inflation hedge.

Investing in art by the likes of Banksy and Andy Warhol used to be an option only for the ultrarich. But with a new investing platform, you can invest in iconic artworks just like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates do.

About the Author

Sigrid Forberg

Sigrid Forberg

Reporter

Sigrid is a reporter with MoneyWise. Before joining the team, she worked for a B2B publication in the hardware and home improvement industry and ran an internal employee magazine for the federal government. As a graduate of the Carleton University Journalism program, she takes pride in telling informative, engaging and compelling stories.

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