A year ago this month, U.S. tech companies told hundreds of thousands of workers to pack up their laptops and go home—at least until mid-April, some said. That deadline quickly joined other trashed predictions in the months that followed, as the coronavirus pandemic set grim records for lives lost, then topped them again and again.
The rollout of several vaccines puts a possible endpoint to the pandemic shutdowns, which have already started to ebb for retail businesses, restaurants and schools. It also invites a new set of predictions about what the year after the pandemic holds in store. A year ago, it was hard to imagine the financial bounty distanced living would hold for the tech industry and its backers. As the following charts show, the extreme circumstances both led to affluence—vaulting tech initial public offerings, a spike in oversize VC rounds, runaway stock prices—and absence, as office vacancies rose and ride-hailing demand dove.