• Valuations Wilt

    A year ago, startup valuations hit a 12-year peak as the numbers of companies joining the billion-dollar-plus club soared.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 8.23.50 PMToday, those numbers are looking far more run of the mill. So suggests a new survey published by law firm Fenwick & West, which analyzed the venture financings of 195 Silicon Valley-based companies over the second quarter to draw its conclusions.

    Among the survey’s findings: up rounds — in which a startup’s price per share increases over its previous funding round — are down slightly. Specifically, in the second quarter, they exceeded down rounds 74 percent to 13 percent, compared with the first quarter of 2016, when up rounds exceeded down rounds 78 percent to 11 percent. (The other funding rounds were flat.)

    Valuations also dropped, and pretty dramatically. The average percentage change in the share price of companies funded during the quarter showed a 40 percent price increase for the quarter, but that’s down from the 53 percent jump in price that startups saw in the first quarter and the lowest amount since the third quarter of 2010.  Meanwhile, the median price increase of financings in the first quarter was 31 percent, down from 36 percent in the first quarter.

    “It’s not like things are so horrible now,” says attorney Barry Kramer, who co-authored the survey. “But this is the third straight quarter of weakening valuations. They’ve fallen a great deal from where they were a year ago. And the question is: where do we go from here?”

    Kramer warns against drawing comparisons to the downturns of 2002 and 2008.

    (More here.)

  • Employees Wise Up

    timthumbThis week, a Bay Area founder was taken aback when an engineer being recruited by his startup asked for both its cap table and information regarding the liquidation preferences of its venture backers. The candidate presumably “worked somewhere where he discovered that these things matter,” says the founder, who asked not to be named in this story.

    Though the startup is still debating how much information to give to the candidate, it will likely need to come up with a policy around such requests soon. The amount of information that privately-held companies share with employees is becoming a bigger issue, largely owing to the rise of so many billion-dollar valuations.

    Just yesterday, CB Insights, the research firm, published an attention-grabbing report about “unicorn” valuations, reporting that 2015 has already seen growth of $143 billion in combined unicorn valuations year-to-date, a 47 percent increase over their aggregate valuation at the end of 2013. It also reported that the number of still-private companies now valued at $1 billion or more has grow by around 50 percent in 2015. (That jump represents a stunning 39 companies that have been assigned billion-dollar valuations by their investors this year.)

    More here.

StrictlyVC on Twitter