Coinbase. Roblox. Rivian. The flood of mega-IPOs and direct listings in 2021 presented a rare opportunity for VC investors to cash in on some of the most successful bets of the past decade. For crossover investors that compete for stakes in pre-IPO companies, these deals have offered a chance to harvest billions in tech holdings.

Of the 20 largest VC-backed IPOs of the year, Tiger Global was a significant investor in six of them–including Roblox, Coinbase and Nubank. That handful of bets translated into stakes worth a combined $11.3 billion at the time of the IPOs, according to company filings.

But the largest IPOs also demonstrated how short-lived those paper profits can be. SoftBank's holdings of Didi Global, valued at more than $13 billion in its US listing, have taken a beating, and the stock now trades at about half of the IPO price. 

Several other companies that pulled off mega-IPOs, including Robinhood, Coupang and UiPath, have also lost significant value. More broadly, venture-backed IPOs have underperformed the market this year, according to a new PitchBook index.

This lackluster performance has led to a cooling off in the IPO market that has caused some new issuers to delay or downsize their IPO plans. When all is said and done, 2021 could represent a high point of the IPO market that may not be matched for years to come.

Here's how the most valuable US VC-backed public listings moved the needle for investors.
Featured image via arthobbit/Getty Images

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