It has been a tumultuous week for the venture capital and startup world. Much has been reported, situations have been analyzed, and fault has been (or will be) found.
Here’s our weekly pick of news items impacting the innovation ecosystem:
IPOs Sidelined: The Window Stays Cracked
This week, The Wall Street Journal reported that money raised by U.S.-listed IPOs to-date in 2017 has returned to normal levels. Companies making their stock-market debuts in the first half raised roughly $28 billion, above the first-half average going back the last two decades, according to data provider Dealogic. While this is a good sign, there are still more than 160 private companies valued at $1 billion or more, deciding if their growth strategy includes a public offering.
The takeaway: As long as a private company has plenty of capital to support its growth, an IPO isn’t the only way to scale. In Tenor’s work, communicating through a company’s growth phases, we agree with a recent Bloomberg column, “Darling Disruptors Also Need Sound Business Models.” We all remember pets.com, right?
Data Drives The Diversity Dialogue
Jeremy Stanley, a data scientist from Instacart, crunched some startup data and quantified the gender imbalance in the startup ecosystem. Not surprisingly, he found that a small percentage of founders are women — and same imbalance exists in venture-backed companies. Of the 17,961 investments by 2,435 investors in 6,771 founders from 3,867 companies analyzed with gendered names, only 10.5% were women. The percent of founders that are women drops significantly as you progress from seed to a, b and c rounds of funding.
The takeaway: While the gender issue in tech and venture capital had been widely known for some time, the power of data, tracking this issue, helps the ecosystem continue to discuss solutions towards meaningful change.
JOBS Act Expands
Next week, the SEC will expand the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, making confidential IPO filings available to all companies. As reported by Bloomberg, “Confidential review allows a company to take the first step toward going public without revealing their most sensitive information to competitors far in advance of concluding whether or when they will actually complete their IPO,” said Joel Trotter, partner at Latham & Watkins LLP who was on the IPO Task Force whose recommendations helped shape the first iteration of the JOBS Act.
The takeaway: The JOBS Act was meant to make the IPO process more efficient and to help encourage more companies to consider going public. On July 10th when the Act expands to include large companies, we’ll be watching if this helps prop the IPO window open.