Upward Momentum

This week was likely the best for the venture/tech industry in 2009.   I believe this week  (and month) will be marked as a turnaround point as there have been a number of very positive events, which I hope will create some much needed momentum in the industry.

1) Amazon acquired venture backed company, Zappos, for ~$900M.  A great win for their investors, most noteably Sequoia Capital.  Large companies, such as Amazon, typically wait till the market is at the bottom, before acquiring companies, as they are targeting the lowest possible valuation; this signals an important inflection point in the market.

2) 3.5% increase in the stock market in a single week, DOW above 9,093 (high since Nov ’08) and NASDAQ at 1,664 (high since Nov’ 08).  Part of the increase in the stock market, was the positive earnings announcement from Apple; their iPhone product line is growing very rapidly, which is  also helping fuel the companies (some of which are VC backed) who sell their applications in the iTunes AppStore.

3) Several growth stage venture backed companies received follow on rounds of financings, which were led by new investors.  The point that these financings are being led by new investors is critical, as most follow on financings in 2009 have been done by existing investors (aka “inside rounds”).   I can’t recall a week this year with as many new follow on financings as this past week.  The fact that new investors are putting money in to venture backed companies is a sign that things are changing for the better.  Below is a partial list of existing venture backed companies that raised money this week from new investors:

  • eMeter – raised$32M, led by Sequoia Capital
  • Ning – raised $15M from Lightspeed Venture Partners, rumors are the valuation was $750M!!!
  • Kontera – raised $15.5M, led by Sequoia Capital
  • iControl, raised $23M, led by ADT Security Services, Cisco, Comcast Interactive Capital and GE Security
  • 5min – raised $5M, led by Globespan Capital Partners
  • SlideRocket, raised $5M, led by Azure Capital

4) Several reports, such as VentureSource and MoneyTree, have released data this week on the level of venture investments in Q2.  All the data points are indicating that Q1 investments have been surpassed by Q2 investments.  Based on conversations I’m having with the VCs and the volume/pace of VC financings I’m observing, I project that Q3 venture investments will be larger that Q2

5) Lastly, several VC firms have raised new funds this week.  This is significant, as there have been many articles and conversations indicating that the VC business is at risk.  The fact that these firms, specifically, Matrix and Khosla, is a sign the Limited Partners (LPs, those that invested VC funds) continue to believe in the VC business model.

  • Matrix Partners, $600M for two funds, $450M main fund and $150M special opportunity fund
  • Kholsa Ventures, $1B for two funds, $250M early stage and $750M late stage
  • DFJ, closed on $196M of a targeted $400M fund

Note: the data in this post in all publicly available and was mainly sourced via:  Silicontap.com, Techcrunch.com, Venturebeat.com, Yahoo.com

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