Unicorns are having a hot 2021 – and Raleigh has a new one: insightsoftware. These firms – valued at $1 billion  or more – are in many cases marching toward eits such as stock offerings.

There’s been talk that Charlotte-based AvidXchange eyes an initial public offering. Raleigh-based Pendo – stay independent, go public, be bought? Lots of options. Don’t forget Epic Games. Or Printful – the newest unicorn before insightsoftware – and Tresata.

But these North Carolina firms aren’t alone, as CNN reports.

A parade of high-profile companies, including Coinbase, Bumble, Oatly, SoFi and Roblox, made their stock market debuts in the first half of 2021. The second half of the year is poised to bring even more buzzy unicorns to Wall Street.

Raleigh’s insightsoftware lands whopping $800M investment from global investor

Trading app Robinhood and yogurt maker Chobani both filed for initial public offerings earlier this month.

Instacart, which just named a new CEO from Facebook, is rumored to be mulling an IPO. Eyeglasses seller Warby Parker, fintech firm NerdWallet and Walmart-backed Indian e-commerce juggernaut Flipkart also could go public in the next six months.

More than 200 IPOs have started trading this year, according to research firm Renaissance Capital. That’s up more than 200% from a year ago, when the markets were largely frozen due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s also significantly higher than the 80 IPOs from the first half of 2019.

Charlotte’s Printful newest NC unicorn after $130M investment from PE firm

The class of 2021 IPOs have collectively raised about $80 billion, a surge of nearly 250% from this time last year and up sharply from the $30 billion raised by IPOs in the first six months of 2019.

Some firms like Robinhood will offer shares via the traditional initial public offering process, but more direct listings and mergers with special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are expected, too.

“The range of ways to go public has changed forever,” said Kelly Rodriques, CEO of Forge, a company that lets people sell shares of private companies. “There is more flexibility now with direct listings and SPACs.”

Charlotte ‘unicorn’ AvidXchange acquires automated payments firm FastPay