2016 was the worst year for IPOs since 2003. Companies going public raised just $24 billion, according to Dealogic, in part because there were so few blockbusters; messaging company Line, which debuted in July, was the only firm to raise more than $1 billion.
In 2017, expect to see a modest increase in public offerings, particularly if Snap follows through on its $25 billion IPO plans. But in many ways, 2016 reinforced a new normal when it comes to the public markets. Startups have found new sources of private financing, and are in no rush to submit to the regulatory obligations of Sarbanes-Oxley. Plus, the prospect of a new administration introduces new uncertainties. As long as early investors can exit as needed, startups will have little impetus to work toward ringing Wall Street’s bell.