Welcome to the Private Markets Express, a digest of small pieces of private equity knowledge gathered for your reading pleasure.

2016 turned out to be a lackluster year in terms of companies choosing to IPO. Only 20 tech companies went public this year – down from 29 tech IPOs in 2015, and only a few up from 2009’s total of 14 companies who went public. Jay Hoag, founding general partner of Technology Crossover Ventures states: “It’s baffling…the absolute numbers are pretty pathetic.”    But with 2017 around the corner and start-ups like Snapchat and Spotify rumored to be weighing public offerings, the new year could take a turn for the best.

Our favorite ride-sharing App UBER is putting self-driving cars on the road in the Bay Area. From small start-up to multinational company, Uber now operates in more than 400 cities in 72 countries. “Starting today, riders who request an UberX in San Francisco will be matched with a self-driving Uber if one is available,” the company said in a blog post about the pilot program. Uber has partnered with Volvo, introducing the Volvo XC90s, paired with state-of-the-art self-driving technology.

Airbnb has put out a list of 17 neighborhoods around the globe that are trending for travelers in 2017, based on travel patterns of more than 140 million guest arrivals at 3 million homes on Airbnb.  Three consistent themes came out between the chosen top cities: a desire for urban areas, glorious green spaces, and plenty of food options. “The theater district in Seoul, a foodie hamlet within Kuala Lumpur’s bustling city center and a residential artists’ enclave in Minneapolis: The fast-growing neighborhoods for travel in 2017 are an eclectic mix of emerging local hotspots,” Airbnb said on their ranking. Other neighborhoods on the list include Zizkov in Prague, Czech Republic, Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland, and Rockcliffe Smythe in Toronto, Canada.

On a lighter note, Spotify is giving super fans holidays swag this season as a thank you to dedicated and loyal music lovers. Spotify is collaborating with some of this year’s biggest artists to deliver and surprise their superfans, artists including Sia, Shawn Mendes, Fetty Wap and others. Get a ‘Sianta hat‘ that mimics Sia’s  black and white chopped wig, or ‘Trapping paper’ – custom wrapping paper covered in illustrations from some of this year’s top rap artists.

Until then, readers. See you in 2017!

Photo credit: Sianta hat courtesy of: Spotify