SPAC companies riding the 2021 SPAC wave

While the concept of going public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) has existed for decades, 2021 was the year that its popularity soared to unprecedented heights, with 613 SPAC IPOs listed.1

This was an increase on the 247 “blank check (pre-merger) companies” created in 2020, which also happened to be the first year that SPACs accounted for more than 50% of all new publicly listed U.S. companies.2

What these figures show is that a practice that was once frowned upon has become a mainstream method of going public for those companies that are looking to avoid the time-consuming process of performing their own IPOs. Here are some of the SPAC stocks that made headlines during the SPAC rush of 2021.

Personal finances going public

SPACs got the year off to a strong start when, on January 7, SoFi Technologies, Inc. was acquired by Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. V. A student loan operator and stock trading platform, SoFi was valued at $8.65 billion including debt at the time of the deal.3

Initially focused on student loan refinancing, SoFi has expanded into what it calls a “one-stop shop” for personal financial services. This includes services such as banking, credit cards, personal loans and mortgages, and investing platforms.

SoFi stocks began trading on June 1, 2021, gaining 12.4% on its debut. As a result, the company was able to raise $2.4 billion through its IPO4, making it the biggest earning SPAC to debut in 2021.5 For those interested in investing in SPACs, SoFi is one SPAC stock that it would be good to keep an eye on.

Payoneer fuels digital finance boost

Another SPAC stock in the fintech space is Payoneer, Inc., an online payment platform provider for business-to-business transactions. This company has attracted a diverse range of clients, ranging from large enterprises such as Amazon and Google to small businesses and even freelancers.

FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp., owned by fintech entrepreneur Betsy Cohen, acquired the company for approximately $3.3 billion on February 3, 20216. Following its stock market debut, Payoneer experienced a significant year-on-year third quarter revenue growth of 35%.7

The sustainable mobility takeover

As the global demand for electric vehicles continues to gain momentum, EV manufacturer Lucid Motors decided that the time had come to list on the New York Stock Exchange. The group merged with Churchill Capital Corp. IV on February 22, 2021 in a deal worth $11.75 billion.8

Lucid Group Inc. raised $2.07 billion from its IPO.9 This capital enabled the Newark, California-based EV maker to begin marketing its cars; a milestone that it hoped to reach within the year. At the end of the third quarter of 2021, Lucid Motors was able to begin customer deliveries, amassing 17,000 customer reservations before the company’s line of luxury vehicles had even been released.10

Joining the EV manufacturer on the NYSE is EVgo, Inc. — an electric vehicle charging station company. After being acquired by Climate Change Crisis Real Impact I Acquisition Corp. on January 22, 2021, EVgo made its stock market debut on July 1, 2021. 

The Los Angeles-based company operates more than 800 charging stations across the United States, with a presence in 34 states11. EVgo is making significant inroads in its effort to expand its operations, entering into deals with grocery store chains Kroger and Whole Foods to install chargers at selected locations as well as several vehicle manufacturers such as GM, whose vehicles will be supported by EVgo’s chargers. 

The healthcare push

Acquired by Alkuri Global Acquisition Corp., Babylon Health made its stock market debut on October 22, 2021. During the course of the day, the company’s stock soared by 20%.12

Babylon Health is a digital-first healthcare provider that offers an array of remote services via its mobile app. Through its AI [artificial intelligence] -powered platform, Babylon Health is able to provide remote doctor consultations, chronic illness management tools, and the ability to order prescription medications to the pharmacy of your choice.

The company recently expanded its reach by acquiring medical technology company Higi, which operates healthcare kiosks across the U.S.

Another healthcare company that decided to go the SPAC route is Hims & Hers Health, Inc., which was acquired by Oaktree Acquisition Corp. on January 20, 2021 for $1.6 billion13. The company earned a modest $280 million on its stock market debut.14

Based in San Francisco, Hims & Hers is focused on providing telehealth services such as appointments with licensed healthcare professionals as well as a range of health products that are available for purchase via its online store.

Developing a nomadic world

On December 2, 2021, hospitality and travel company Selina announced a merger with BOA Acquisition Corp for $1.2 billion15. Labeled as an “experiential brand”, Selina has a network of 134 properties across four continents,16 where it aims to provide accommodation to Millenial and Generation Z travelers with a variety of needs, ranging from digital nomads to backpackers and vacationers looking for leisure. Selina hopes to use the proceeds to continue its international expansion while also upgrading its on-site technological infrastructure and recruiting fresh talent.

Connecting neighborhoods

On November 8, 2021, social media platform Nextdoor went public after merging with Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. II. The company managed to raise $674 million in capital, with its stocks rising by 33% throughout the day.17

Founded in 2008, Nextdoor is a social networking app with a local focus — to connect neighbors with one another and provide a platform on which to gather information and ask questions. The network also provides a marketplace where neighbors can sell used goods to one another.

Buying in bulk

On June 14, 2021, eCommerce grocery shopping platform Boxed completed a merger with SPAC Seven Oaks Acquisition Corp that resulted in a combined entity worth $900 million.18  After debuting on the NYSE on December 9, 2021, Boxed stocks surged by more than 40% that day.19

Utilizing its SaaS-based platform, Boxed offers bulk groceries and other household items to shoppers without requiring them to sign up for a membership. The company currently has three order fulfillment centers — in New Jersey, Nevada, and Texas — each aimed at servicing different regions of the United States.

Navigating the market

3D geolocation service NextNav hopped on the SPAC bandwagon, merging with Spartacus Acquisition Corporation on June 10, 2021.20

NextNav is going where GPS technology has been unable to go before. The company is utilizing a three-dimensional (3D) geolocation service called Metropolitan Beacon System to ensure that location services are able to function in areas where GPS technology traditionally does not perform well, for example, on the lower level of buildings.

The road ahead

The number of SPACs has grown significantly over 2020 and 2021. In fact, in the past two years they have overtaken traditional IPOs as the most popular method for U.S. companies to become listed on the stock exchange.21 Considering their popularity, it may be worthwhile considering SPAC stocks as a part of your investment portfolio. Alternatively, if you are looking for diverse exposure to this dynamic space, you may want to consider the SPAC ETF offered by Defiance ETF, which includes many of the companies described above and others.


1“Number of special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) IPOs in the United States from 2003 to 2021”, accessed 17 January 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1178249/spac-ipo-usa/

2 “SPACs: What You Need to Know”, July–August 2021, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2021/07/spacs-what-you-need-to-know

3 “SoFi jumps 12% in Nasdaq debut”, June 2, 2021, https://fortune.com/2021/06/01/sofi-stock-jumps-12-in-nasdaq-debut/

4 “SoFi Stock Up As Public Offering Via SPAC Route Completes Process”, June 6, 2021, https://www.investors.com/news/technology/sofi-ipo-via-spac-begins-trading/

5 “Top 5 SPACs of 2021”, December 30, 2021, https://www.thestreet.com/markets/ipos/top-5-spacs-of-2021

6 “Online payment company Payoneer goes public after SPAC merger”, June 28, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/technology/online-payment-company-payoneer-goes-public-after-spac-merger-2021-06-28/

7 “Payoneer Announces Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results”, 10 November 2021, https://investor.payoneer.com/news-events/news/news-details/2021/Payoneer-Announces-Third-Quarter-2021-Financial-Results/default.aspx

8 “Here’s Which VC-Backed Companies Are Going Public Via SPAC This Year (So Far)”, December 16, 2021, https://news.crunchbase.com/news/heres-which-vc-backed-companies-are-going-public-via-spac-this-year-so-far/

9 “Biggest SPACs of 2021 and Planned for 2022”, November 8, 2021, https://dealroom.net/blog/biggest-spacs

10 “Lucid Group’s customer reservations top 17,000 since end of third quarter”, November 16, 2021, https://techcrunch.com/2021/11/15/lucid-groups-customer-reservations-top-17000-since-end-of-third-quarter/

11 “EVgo Makes Its Wall Street Debut as Electric Charging Companies Prepare For Surge”, July 02, 2021, https://dot.la/evgo-ipo-2653632027.html

12 “Digital health care company Babylon pops in NYSE public debut”, October 22, 2021, https://news.yahoo.com/digital-health-care-company-babylon-195523358.html

13 “Hims & Hers goes public in $1.6B SPAC deal”, January 21, 2021, https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/hims-hers-goes-public-in-16b-spac-deal-1/593746/

14 Top 5 SPACs of 2021, December 30, 2021, https://www.thestreet.com/markets/ipos/top-5-spacs-of-2021

15 “Hospitality brand Selina to go public via $1.2 bln SPAC deal”, December 2, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/hospitality-brand-selina-go-public-via-12-bln-spac-deal-2021-12-02/

16 “Experiential Hospitality Brand Selina to Become Publicly Traded Through Merger With BOA Acquisition Corp.”, December 02, 2021, https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211202005294/en/Experiential-Hospitality-Brand-Selina-to-Become-Publicly-Traded-Through-Merger-With-BOA-Acquisition-Corp.

17 “Nextdoor goes public, shares surge 30%”, November 08, 2021, https://money.yahoo.com/nextdoor-goes-public-shares-surge-30-165101126.html

18 “Wholesale grocery retailer Boxed is set to go public in $900 million SPAC deal”, June 14, 2021, https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/boxed-grocery-ipo-go-public-900-million-spac-deal-2021-6-1030520145

19 “Boxed IPO: Stock pops, CEO talks software partnership with Google and more”, December 9, 2021, https://finance.yahoo.com/video/boxed-ipo-stock-pops-ceo-175800396.html

20 “Here’s Which VC-Backed Companies Are Going Public Via SPAC This Year (So Far)”, December 16, 2021, https://news.crunchbase.com/news/heres-which-vc-backed-companies-are-going-public-via-spac-this-year-so-far/

21 “Should SPAC Forecasts be Sacked?”, September 2021, https://deliverypdf.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=943123069103073083022102007097126030020017019079008048067085105089126124087092106126048032053025045113109022095124066114084126006035042052016067119126081085127103118028054016070119003102089109028119091019124093120094100006092005011006122110031002002127&EXT=pdf&INDEX=TRUE