But the rising valuations have solely continued to climb within the final yr. In 2018, the median firm valuation for one class of mature start-ups greater than doubled to $420 million, up from $183 million in 2017, in keeping with Carta, a supplier of valuation software program and providers. And in a 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research examine of 135 unicorn start-ups, researchers concluded the businesses had been overvalued by a mean of 50 %.
“There’s too much heat around good, not necessarily great, companies” which can be older, mentioned Mamoon Hamid, a companion on the enterprise agency Kleiner Perkins. Even one “good, not great” firm he just lately met with had 13 funding provides, he mentioned. The upshot: Kleiner didn’t make investments.
Greg Sands, a managing companion at Costanoa Ventures, mentioned his enterprise agency walked away from three investments in 2018 the place the value was 30 % increased than he was keen to pay, a rise from previous years. He additionally screened out quite a few corporations that had been asking for extra money than appeared affordable — but a few of these corporations then went on to lift triple that quantity from different traders.
“What’s happening right now isn’t sustainable and it won’t go on forever. It can’t,” he mentioned. Costanoa raised a $75 million “opportunity fund,”, which Mr. Sands mentioned would give it the power to do extra offers when the market cools down.
Many different enterprise capital companies are additionally in a place to change into extra aggressive in case of a market downturn. Venture funds raised $30.2 billion within the first three quarters of final yr, on monitor to surpass 2017’s whole of $35.three billion, in keeping with PitchBook, a knowledge supplier.
Start-up founders additionally look like making ready for a potential shift in fortunes. In a survey performed late final yr by First Round Capital, a enterprise capital agency, slightly below half of 529 entrepreneurs mentioned they anticipated fund-raising to change into harder in 2019. A 3rd mentioned they believed the tech bubble was near popping, a 10-point improve over 2017.
Some start-ups are elevating extra money to climate the uncertainty, in keeping with Kirsten Green, a managing companion at Forerunner Ventures. Others are creating backup plans to chop prices so their survival received’t rely upon new funding.