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An IPO, or initial public offering, is the entry of a company into a publicly-traded stock market. Some of the most successful IPOs in history have been seen in the past 20 years. These include American companies and stocks from the developing world.

IPOs are a great way to get in on the ground floor of a strong stock. Of course, they’re also very speculative. The dotcom bubble of the late 90s showed that even stocks that launch well can fall apart quickly. Some investors and advisors don’t believe it’s profitable to go through the regulatory filings that announce a coming IPO.

Near the beginning of the 2010s, however, we saw a return to form for IPOs. Banks and credit card companies have been some of the strongest IPO launches in history. For example, people who got in on Mastercard in 2006 and Visa in 2008 have been hugely successful.

These two credit card companies charge fees whenever a customer makes a purchase using their branded debit cards. This charge is in addition to their interest income from borrowers. Their business model makes these companies possess some of the most bankable stocks in the market for the foreseeable future.

The entry of Chinese banks like the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China into Asian markets was a huge success. This bank raised almost $20 billion in its 2006 IPO. The Agricultural Bank of China raised over $19 billion in a single day during its IPO in 2010.

Telecommunications IPOs also have a good track record of success. While many dotcom stocks of the late 90s came and went quickly, telecom stocks weathered the storm well. Examples of this include Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG. This is the company that went on to launch T-Mobile in the US, becoming a huge success.

Stateside, AT&T Wireless had a huge IPO in 2000, raising over $10 billion in a single day. In fact, it held the record for the largest IPO in American history for over five years. In Japan, NTT Mobile Communications had a huge IPO in 1998. This mobile phone company provided a shot in the arm to the entire Nikkei which had been sluggish in preceding months.

IPOs can make a great investment. These examples provide some great examples of some successful IPOs and why they make a good investment. Providers of day-to-day services like banking, utilities, and communications are typically solid bets.