David Nussbaum has been waiting for this moment for 30 years. The 66-year-old banker helped pioneer the concept of special purpose acquisition companies—cashed-up, empty corporate shells looking for businesses to buy—in the early 1990s. He stuck with the concept for years—even when only three or four SPACs were going public a year—waiting for a moment like the current one.
So far this year, the number of SPACs going public has exploded to 138 and they raised more than $53 billion, up from 20 SPACs that raised $3.9 billion in 2015, data from SPAC Research shows. That has brought Nussbaum’s firm, EarlyBird Capital, plenty more business. Nussbaum estimates revenue will be up 70% this year over 2017, to $54 million.