Steve Maletzky: The equity capital markets team at William Blair has been at the forefront of sourcing capital and liquidity for high growth companies and their shareholders. And while our clients are some of the fastest growing and most innovative companies in the world, the avenues that they've had to utilize to access the public markets and go public have been fairly consistent until recently. A major ongoing trend that has accelerated during the pandemic is the convergence of the public and private capital markets, and it's creating more ways to raise capital and it's creating more ways to get public and engage with public investors. Crossover pre-ideal financings, direct listings, modified Dutch auction IPOs and SPACs are just some of the new creative strategies that are gaining momentum and appeal for issuers as they try to customize a financing solution that works for their specific situation. The one-size-fits-all approach to going public or executing an IPO and the silo-like separation between venture capital, private equity, and public institutional investors is all a thing of the past. And this is a trend we are very excited about. It's going to increase the number of public companies. It's going to enable earlier stage companies to list on markets before they historically could have, and it's creating—most importantly—a more fair and efficient price discovery and valuation discovery mechanism in the markets for issuers.
The other key trend that we think is really important coming out of this. Wealth creation in the private markets has largely been limited to founders or venture capital funds, private equity funds or credited investors. But as the public investors and mutual funds come into the private markets and invest in private companies, the retail investor, the individual investor now has access to earlier stage investments and this growth and wealth creation earlier and earlier than they would have typically been able to get access to. This convergence is truly creating I guess what we would call a democratization of the financial markets, and in addition to this broadening of exposure to wealth creation, it's stimulating innovation as companies get funded earlier, that there's more competition for investments, and it's stimulating job growth as well, which is obviously something that we desperately need right now.