"The biggest difference between an IPO and a Direct Listing is that there is no “o” — that is, there is no offering from the company selling its stock to public investors. Besides this and a few other substantive differences that I’ll cover, the differences between IPOs and Direct Listings mainly boil down to the order of operations. The activities in both processes are actually rather similar — registration, investor education, trading, and so on — differing mainly in what happens when, and in some cases, how.
There is also no formal book-building roadshow in a Direct Listing. In a traditional IPO, the company going public literally goes “on the road” with their underwriter (the investment bank) over an intense two-week period for back-to-back, intimate meetings with potential investors. They do this is not just to market their company story, but to enable the management team to build relationships with investors — typically, large institutional investors..."