2021 proved to be one of the best initial public offering (IPO) markets ever. In fact, a record-setting 968 IPOs and 613 SPAC IPOs were filed last year.

Taking a deeper look into how a company can become publicly traded, Michael Becker, Business Wire’s executive vice president of strategic initiatives and partnerships, discussed the IPO market and best practices for IPO communication with an expert panel featuring:

  • Don Duffy: President of ICR, a communications and advisory firm actively working with IPOs, SPACs, and other go-public transactions. 
  • Matt Rubel: Chairman, Executive Board of MidOcean portfolio company, KidKraft, and Presidential Appointee to the House Advisory Council on Trade Policy Negotiation.
  • Niccolo de Masi: CEO of dMY Technology, de Masi has overseen 25 mergers and acquisitions and has raised billions in equity to support public and private companies he’s led.

Reflecting on last year’s IPO filings, Duffy noted a shift from mainly private equity and venture capital as funding mechanisms for growth companies, to a variety of options now available for companies to consider when deciding to go public. From direct listing to traditional IPOs to SPACs, it’s easier for companies today to list on the public market.

Each option, however, requires different communications requirements, so how you approach the delivery of crucial updates can directly impact the IPO’s success. By broadening the reach of your news, more people will see it, hear it, and learn about it, making investors more likely to act.

Here are some differences to keep in mind when it comes to communicating about a traditional IPO versus a SPAC IPO.

Traditional IPO

  • Communication begins by working with an underwriter (or underwriting team) and eventually selling to investors via a distribution network comprised of investment banks, broker-dealers, mutual funds, and insurance companies.
  • Prior to going public, the company and underwriter go on a roadshow – a series of presentations by the company’s top executives to investors to drum up interest in the soon-to-be-public stock.
  • Communications teams also develop investor relations and public relations campaigns to help drive awareness ahead of the IPO.


  • In general, companies can market more vigorously, provide projections, and actively share their story with investors and media.
  • SPACs allow more visibility into the company and plans for investors.
  • Since SPACs may not have large sales support or a large client network, communications teams can be hired to help companies craft messaging, target audiences and investors, and execute a marketing campaign after going public.

Whichever method you follow to go public, your communications should have the necessary reach and be clear in its messaging. Choosing knowledgeable communications partners with experience navigating your listing preference can provide a helpful lifeline during the IPO process.

Learn more

Download our whitepaper, Direct Listing, Traditional IPO, SPAC: Communicating Throughout Your Journey to the Public Markets.

Watch our on-demand webinar, The Journey to the Public Markets, and read more about communicating SPAC news in this blog post.

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