YOUNG COMPANIES everywhere were preparing for doomsday in March 2020. Sequoia Capital, a large venture-capital (VC) firm, warned of Armageddon; others predicted a “Great Unwinding”. Startups like Airbnb trimmed their workforce in expectation of an economic bloodbath. Yet within months the gloom had lifted and a historic boom had begun. America unleashed a raft of stimulus measures; the dominance of tech firms increased as locked-down consumers spent even more of their lives online. A wave of companies, including Airbnb, took advantage of the bullish mood by listing on the stockmarket. The market capitalisation of venture-capital-backed firms that went public last year amounted to a record $200bn; it is on course to reach $500bn in 2021.
Image: Satoshi Kambayashi