Startup Face Markdowns For 2023

In the ever-evolving world of startups and venture capital, 2023 has been a year of recalibration, especially when it comes to startup exits. As an investor, I’ve been closely monitoring this trend, and it’s clear that the days of sky-high valuations and easy gains are taking a backseat to more grounded financial realities. Let’s dive into this intriguing shift and explore what it means for us in the investment community.

The New Normal in Startup Exits

Remember the times when a startup going public or getting acquired was almost a guaranteed jackpot for early backers? Well, this year, that’s not quite the case. We’re seeing a significant shift in the exit valuations of these companies, often falling short of their peak valuations from a couple of years ago.

Key Examples:

  • Klaviyo, a marketing automation provider, went public with a valuation just slightly below its peak.
  • Loom, a video collaboration tool provider, was acquired by Atlassian for $975 million, a markdown from its $1.5 billion peak.
  • Corvus Insurance sold to Travelers Insurance for $435 million, down from a $750 million valuation.

The Bigger Picture: Market Realities

This trend isn’t just about a few companies; it’s reflective of broader market dynamics. The once frothy private company valuations are adjusting to more realistic figures. This recalibration is evident in some of the more prominent cases:

  • Instacart, once valued at $39 billion, went public at $8.3 billion, now hovering around $6.6 billion.
  •, a digital mortgage provider, saw its valuation plummet from around $4 billion in 2020 to a market cap of about $360 million.

Despite these markdowns, it’s not all doom and gloom. There have been significant wins, like Scopely, acquired for $4.9 billion, and Versanis Bio, bought for up to $1.93 billion.

What This Means for Investors

As an investor, it’s crucial to understand the implications of these market shifts. The days of easy, outsized returns might be taking a pause, but opportunities still exist. It’s about being more discerning, looking beyond the hype, and focusing on fundamentals.

  • Sector Focus: Hot sectors like generative AI and obesity therapeutics are still seeing lucrative exits.
  • Valuation Sensitivity: Being mindful of inflated valuations and focusing on sustainable growth.
  • Long-Term Perspective: Understanding that not every exit will be a home run, but good returns are still achievable.

In conclusion, 2023 is shaping up to be a year of recalibration in the startup world. As investors, it’s our job to adapt, stay informed, and make decisions that align with this new landscape. The key is to balance optimism with realism, and remember, even in a market of markdowns, there are always opportunities for those who know where to look.

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