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Article from Fenwick & West LLP.

Background —We analyzed the terms of venture financings for 113 companies headquartered in Silicon Valley that reported raising money in the third quarter of 2011.

Overview of Fenwick & West Results

  • Up rounds exceeded down rounds in 3Q11 70% to 15%, with 15% of rounds flat.  This was an increase from 2Q11 when up rounds exceeded down rounds 61% to 25%, with 14% of rounds flat.  Series B rounds were exceptionally strong, comprising 38% of the relevant rounds (Series A rounds aren’t included as there is no prior round for comparison purposes), and 89% of the Series B rounds were up rounds.  This was the ninth quarter in a row in which up rounds exceeded down rounds.
  • The Fenwick & West Venture Capital Barometer™ showed an average price increase of 69% in 3Q11, a slight decrease from the 71% increase registered in 2Q11.  However, we note that one internet/digital media company had a 1,500% up round, and that if such round was excluded the Barometer would have been 54%.  This was also the ninth quarter in a row in which the Barometer was positive.
  • Interpretive Comment regarding the Barometer. When interpreting the Barometer results please bear in mind that the results reflect the average price increase of companies raising money this quarter compared to their prior round of financing, which was in general 12‑18 months prior.  Given that venture capitalists (and their investors) generally look for at least a 20% IRR to justify the risk that they are taking, and that by definition we are not taking into account those companies that were unable to raise a new financing (and that likely resulted in a loss to investors), a Barometer increase in the 30-40% range should be considered normal.
  • The results by industry are set forth below.  In general internet/digital media was the clear valuation leader, followed by software, cleantech and hardware, with life science continuing to lag.
Overview of Other Industry Data
  • After 2Q11 there was reason to believe that the venture environment was improving, but the results were more mixed in 3Q11.  While the amount invested by venture capitalists in 3Q11 was healthy, the amount raised by venture capitalists was significantly off the pace set in the first half of the year.  As a result, venture capitalists are continuing to invest significantly more than they raise, an unsustainable situation (and one that perhaps provides increased opportunities for angels and corporate investors).  IPOs also decreased significantly in 3Q11, although M&A activity was up.  The internet/digital media industry continued to lead, while life science continued to lag.

    However there are some clouds on the horizon, as the Silicon Valley Venture Capital Confidence Index declined for only the second time in 11 quarters, there are reports of a number of IPOs being recently postponed and the world financial environment is undergoing substantial turbulence.

    Detailed results from third-party publications are as follows:

    • Venture Capital Investment. Venture capitalists (including corporation-affiliated venture groups) invested $8.4 billion in 765 deals in the U.S. in 3Q11, a 5% increase in dollars over the $8.0 billion invested in 776 deals reported for 2Q11 in July 2011, according to Dow Jones Venture Source (“VentureSource”).  The largest Silicon Valley investments in 3Q11 were Twitter and Bloom Energy, which were also two of the three largest nationwide.  Northern California received 38% of all U.S. venture investment in 3Q11.

      The PwC/NVCA MoneyTree™ Report based on data from Thomson Reuters (the “MoneyTree Report”) reported slightly different results – that venture capitalists invested $7.0 billion in 876 deals in 3Q11, a 7% decrease in dollars over the $7.5 billion invested in 966 deals reported in July 2011 for 2Q11.  Investments in software companies were at their highest quarterly level since 4Q01, at $2.0 billion; investments in internet companies fell to $1.6 billion after the ten year high of $2.4 billion reported in 2Q11, and life science and cleantech investments fell 18% and 13% respectively from 2Q11.

      Overall, venture capital investment in 2011 is on track to exceed the amount invested in 2010 according to both VentureSource and the MoneyTree Report.

    • Merger and Acquisition Activity. Acquisitions (including buyouts) of U.S. venture-backed companies in 3Q11 totaled $13 billion in 122 deals, a 33% increase in dollar terms from the $9.8 billion paid in 100 deals reported in July 2011 for 2Q11, according to Dow Jones.  The information and enterprise technology sectors had the most acquisitions, and the acquisition of PopCap Games by Electronic Arts for $750 million was the largest acquisition of the quarter.

      Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (“Thomson/NVCA”) also reported an increase in M&A transactions, from 79 in 2Q11 (as reported in July 2011) to 101 in 3Q11.

    • Initial Public Offerings.  Dow Jones reported that 10 U.S. venture-backed companies went public in 3Q11, raising $0.5 billion, a significant decrease from the 14 IPOs raising $1.7 billion in 2Q11.  Perhaps of greater concern is that six of the IPOs occurred in July, with only four in the latter two months of the quarter, and half of the 10 companies went public on non-U.S. exchanges (one each on AIM, Australia and Tokyo, two on Taiwan).  By comparison, all 25 companies going public in the first half of 2011 went public on U.S. exchanges.

      Similarly, Thomson/NVCA reported that only five U.S. venture-backed companies went public in the U.S. in 3Q11 (they do not include offerings on foreign exchanges), raising $0.4 billion, a substantial decrease from the 22 IPOs raising $5.5 billion reported in 2Q11.  This was the lowest IPO level in seven quarters.  Of the five IPOs, four of the companies were based in the U.S. and one in China, and four were IT-focused and one was life science-focused.  The largest of the IPOs was China-based Tudou, raising $0.2 billion.

      At the end of 3Q11, 64 U.S. venture-backed companies were in registration to go public, an increase from 46 in registration at the end of 2Q11.

    • Venture Capital Fundraising. Dow Jones reported that U.S. venture capital funds raised $2.2 billion in 3Q11, a significant decline from the $8.1 billion raised in the first half of 2011.  2011 is on track to be the fourth year in a row in which venture capital fundraising will be less than investments made by venture capitalists, and by over $30 billion in the aggregate.

      Similarly, Thomson/NVCA reported that U.S. venture capital funds raised $1.7 billion in 3Q11, a substantial dollar decrease from the $2.7 billion reported raised by 37 funds in 2Q11.

    • Venture Capital Returns. According to the Cambridge Associates U.S. Venture Capital Index®, U.S. venture capital funds achieved a 26% return for the 12-month period ending 2Q11, less than the Nasdaq return of 31% (not including any dividends) during that period.  Note that this information is reported with a one quarter lag.
    • Sentiment. The Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index® produced by Professor Mark Cannice at the University of San Francisco reported that the confidence level of Silicon Valley venture capitalists was 3.41 on a 5 point scale, a decrease from the 3.66 result reported for 2Q11, and the second quarter of decrease in a row.  Venture capitalists expressed concerns due to the macro economic environment, the uncertain exit environment, high company valuations and regulatory burdens.  The divergence between the internet/digital media industry, which has performed well, and the lagging life science industry, was also noted.
    • Nasdaq. Nasdaq decreased 13% in 3Q11, but has increased 10% in 4Q11 through November 14, 2011.

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Article from GigaOm.

It’s no secret that the larger economy has hit a rough patch in recent months. Although Silicon Valley has — in general – fared better than many other parts of the world, the venture capital industry is not immune to the negative effects of the macro-economic slowdown.

In the third quarter of 2011, venture capital investment activity fell 12 percent in terms of dollars and 14 percent in terms of deals compared to the previous quarter, according to the latest edition of the MoneyTree Report assembled by accounting giant Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).VCs invested $6.9 billion in 876 deals during the July through September timeframe in 2011, the MoneyTree report says, a notable decline from the $7.9 billion invested in 1,015 deals during the second quarter of 2011.


To be fair, the industry is still up compared to last year. For the first three quarters of 2011, VCs invested $21.2 billion, which is 20 percent more than VCs invested in the first three quarters of 2010. And 2010 saw an even bigger drop between the second and third quarters of the year. But VC funding is not exactly predictable according to the time of year — in 2009, for instance, the third quarter of the year was stronger than the second.

The VC industry is not as predictably cyclical as others because it generally takes its cues from a fluctuating variety of places: the worldwide economy, the entrepreneurial environment, the stock market’s appetite for IPOs, and larger companies’ appetite for acquisitions. It’s a complicated mix, but at the moment, it seems venture capitalists may be nervous about the larger environment of financial unrest, and the IPO window that opened earlier this year seems to be closing.

Seed funding takes a hit

Seed funding — which has recently been the hotshot of the industry as more angel and individual investors have become active in funding the startup scene — took a major hit in the third quarter of 2011. Seed stage investments fell a whopping 56 percent in terms of dollars quarter-over-quarter, and 41 percent year-over-year, to $179 million. It’s not just the total amount of seed investment that’s fallen, it’s also the amount of money per deal: The average seed deal in the third quarter was worth $2 million, a 43 percent drop from the average seed deal in the second quarter of 2011, which was $3.3 million.

And late stage deals have started to see major declines as well. Later stage startup investments decreased 20 percent in dollars and 30 percent in deals in the third quarter compared to the second, MoneyTree reported. Middle, or expansion, stage deals were relatively robust: Expansion stage dollars increased two percent quarter-over-quarter and 43 percent year-over-year, with $2.5 billion going into 260 deals.

Software is still strong

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The software space has held up fairly well, receiving the highest level of funding for all industries during the third quarter with $2 billion invested from venture capitalists. That’s a 23-percent increase in dollars from the second quarter, and according to MoneyTree, the highest quarterly investment in the sector in nearly a decade, since the fourth quarter of 2001.

The web industry had a relatively soft quarter, as investments in Internet-specific companies fell 33 percent quarter-over-quarter during the third quarter to $1.6 billion. But it’s not exactly time to cry for Internet startups; the third quarter had a very tough act to follow, because Internet-specific VC deals hit a 10-year high in the second quarter of 2011.

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Here is an interesting article on Cleantech/ Greentech IPO´s from Earth2Tech.

“Electric car maker Tesla Motors officially delivered the biggest venture backed IPO of the quarter, raising $226 million, according to numbers out this week from the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters. What made the public debut different from some of the other venture-backed IPOs that happened this quarter? Well, among a variety of things, last summer Tesla managed to score a coveted $465 million in loans from the Department of Energy.

The link with Uncle Sam likely helped allay investors fears over supporting a risky company that has yet to make a profit and doesn’t plan on making any profits for the next two years. Tesla isn’t the only greentech IPO hopeful backed by the government. In fact, a large number of the greentech companies that have been gunning for the public market, or have recently gone public, have significant government support.

Take lithium ion battery maker A123Systems. The venture-backed company raised $371 million in its public debut in 2009, which was the largest IPO of the year, and represented about a third of the overall IPO market that year in terms of dollars raised. A123 secured a sizable $249 million grant from the Department of Energy last summer.

Before Tesla, the venture-backed greentech IPO hopeful of the hour was solar panel maker Solyndra, which hosted a speech by President Obama in May. Last year the company won a whopping $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, and that loan guarantee translated into a loan from the U.S. Treasury. However, despite the government support, investors’ appetites for solar, and Solyndra’s, IPO just wasn’t there and Solyndra ended up ditching its IPO plans last month, in lieu of raising funding from its current investors.

This week, shortly after Tesla’s IPO, an investor behind another venture-backed and government-supported electric car maker suggested it will also one day go public. That would be Fisker Automotive, and Ray Lane, the Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist and former Oracle executive, said this week that “Certainly we would plan to sell shares in the public market once the Karma is on the road and we have visibility into the revenue plan.” In April Fisker closed a $528.7 million loan agreement that will be used to help the startup launch its luxury plug-in hybrid model and set up manufacturing in Delaware for a line of lower-cost plug-in hybrids.

Smart grid company Silver Spring Networks, which has been planning an IPO for the last six months, might not have direct government support, but the close to $4 billion in funds for smart grid projects from the U.S. stimulus package has been a major boon to its utility customers. The Silver Spring folks told me in an email last year that the funding “will go a long way toward accelerating and broadening deployment of the critical smart grid infrastructure.” Silver Spring is working with stimulus award winners Florida Power & Light, Oklahoma Gas and Electric, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, PHI Holdings (including PEPCO, Atlantic City and PEPCO DC) and Modesto Irrigation District.

Other rumored greentech IPO hopefuls (here’s Earth2Tech’s 10 Greentech IPO Picks) that have some sort of government support include solar thermal developer BrightSource Energy and Smith Electric Vehicles. BrightSource received a commitment earlier this year from the Department of Energy for a $1.37 billion loan guarantee to build out BrightSource’s Ivanpah solar project, which is set to be the first new solar thermal power plant built in California’s deserts in 20 years. Smith Electric Vehicles won a $10 million DOE battery grant last summer, and added $22 million under the same program in March.

Of course, not all of the greentech IPO candidates are under the wing of the U.S. government. Biofuel developer Amyris is planning a $100 million IPO without direct government support. But the odds are if you see a greentech startup hit the Nasdaq it’s got Uncle Sam in its corner.

The reality says a couple things about the greentech industry and the IPO market in general. First the IPO market for venture-backed startups is actually relatively weak right now. A significant amount of companies have actually pulled their IPOs in recent weeks and that extra bit of confidence via government support can help push these plans onto the public markets (Solyndra as the exception).

Another issue is that many of the government loans, grants and loan guarantees given to these greentech startups come attached with a cost-sharing requirement over a certain time frame. To unlock the full extent of the government funding companies like Tesla and Solyndra have to raise their own matching funding, by a certain date, and many are turning to the public markets for that.”

Read the whole article here.

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Here is some interresting pointer around Cleantech and Investments from Techpulse 360.

“U.S. venture firms are taking a more circumspect view of clean-tech investing. Less flash, more focus on profits.

That could lead to more start-ups trying to build businesses with less money.

According to a recent survey, substantial sums of money continue to flow into the industry. Ernst & Young reported Monday that $2.6 billion went into clean-tech start-ups last year, a noticeably more optimistic assessment than last month’s MoneyTree survey, which posted a figure of $1.9 billion. The higher sum suggests VCs were significantly more active last year than may have been thought.

The E&Y work also uncovered a second detail that didn’t show up in the MoneyTree study – which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters.  While investment dollars fell 45 percent in the fourth quarter, the number of deals were up – 21 percent to 62. More deals, smaller sums of money per company, more room for profits.

The MoneyTree work found that the number of deals in the quarter fell to 47 and that overall dollars declined 58 percent.

It is hard to know which of the surveys is more accurate. But the prospect of venture capitalists funding more companies at lower dollar values is interesting to contemplate. It suggests funds are seeing clean-tech investing more like they see information-technology investing: put a little money in, expect a lot back.  This prospect may encourage more VCs to take part.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is a good VentureBeat article.

“Now that 2009 is over, we can add up the numbers on how much venture firms invested in startups during all of 2009 — and, well, it was a lot less than in the past. Over the course of the year, VCs invested a total of $17.7 billion in 2,795 deals, the lowest total since 1997, according to the MoneyTree Report from the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

On the bright side, the worst hit came from numbers that we’ve already reported on, since investments really plummeted during the first half of this year. Funding went up in the third quarter, and more-or-less held steady in the fourth. The amount invested went down from $5.1 billion in the third quarter to $5.0 billion in the fourth quarter, but the numbers of deals went up from 689 to 794. So VCs were making smaller bets, but they placed more fo them. Another reason for optimism: There were more seed and early-stage deals in Q4 than in any other quarter this year, so new ideas are still getting money.

Two of the industries we spend a lot of time covering at VentureBeat took a big funding hit in 2009. Internet-specific companies received $2.9 billion dollars, down 39 percent from 2008. Cleantech fell even further to $1.9 billion, a decline of 52 percent. Meanwhile, VCs put more money into biotech ($3.5 billion) than any other sector, and even then, biotech saw a 19 percent drop from 2008.

NVCA President Mark Heesen acknowledged the drop in a statement released with the report, saying, “The venture industry had no choice but to slow the investment pace in 2009.” But he also offered an optimistic view of the year to come.

“Now that the economy has begun to show signs of improvement, we expect to see dollars flow more freely back into those sectors that offered the most promise before the recession began — clean technology, life sciences and IT,” Heesen said. “The seed and early stage pipeline needs replenishing across all industries and the health of the startup community in the next decade will be dependent upon more robust first-time financings. 2010 should be the year to begin that process in earnest.”

Read the complete article here.

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Here is some not-so-exciting news from Businessinsider.

“The third quarter was rough for VCs, with 17 firms raising just $1.6 billion. That’s the fewest firms to raise money since 1994, and it’s the smallest amount of money raised since Q1 2003, says the NVCA and Thomson Reuters.

It’s an 81% drop from a year ago, and a second quarter of declines.

There were three big raises–Andreessen Horowitz with $58.5 million, Vinod Khosla’s fund raised $750 million, and Draper Fisher Jurvetson raised $196 million. Without those funds, it would be a nightmare.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is an excellent Bloomberg article by way of statesman.com.

“SAN FRANCISCO — Acquisitions of startups fell to the lowest level in a decade in the second quarter as the recession stopped companies from buying smaller competitors.

A total of 59 startups merged with other companies, a drop of 30 percent from a year earlier and dropping to the lowest level since 1999, the National Venture Capital Association said. Five U.S. startups have had initial public offerings so far this year. In 2007, before the financial crisis, there were 86.

Acquisitions and IPOs — the two ways for venture capitalists to cash in their investments — have almost come to a standstill, NVCA President Mark Heesen said. With the IPO market struggling, larger technology companies — confident that prices will fall — are waiting before proposing takeovers, he said.

“The buyers on the merger and acquisition side got smart real fast,” Heesen said. “They wait for companies to come crying to them to get bought.”

No venture-backed companies went public between September and March — the longest slump since the association began collecting data in 1971. Only 11 startups have had IPOs since the end of 2007, and there is little immediate prospect for improvement, said Paul Bard, an analyst at Renaissance Capital.

Only 10 startups have filed pre-IPO paperwork with U.S. regulators, and none has done so since January, said Emily Mendell, an NVCA vice president. That signals that deals such as the May IPOs of Austin-based SolarWinds Inc. and online restaurant-reservation service OpenTable Inc. failed to spur other young companies to act.

It also means the market won’t revive in the next few months, Bard said.

“Unless filing activity spikes in the next two to three weeks, we’re unlikely to see a more sustainable pickup in VC-backed IPOs before Labor Day,” Bard said. “The bar will remain high for most VC-backed deals to get done.”

Even if the 10 biggest venture capitalists had 25 companies ready to go public by early next year, that would still leave IPOs at about a third of their levels from 2004 to 2007, he said.

That means startups lack bargaining power in merger talks, a situation that is keeping offers low and stalling many negotiations that do occur, Heesen said.

Only 13 of the 59 companies that sold out reported how much they were paid, the association said. Prices were higher than in the first quarter, a possible sign of improving conditions later this year, it said.

Cisco Systems Inc.’s $590 million deal to buy Pure Digital Technologies Inc., maker of the Flip Video camera, helped drive up the average merger price to $197.7 million.

Five companies commanded less than venture capitalists had invested, the venture capital association said. Purchases of medical-instrument makers CoreValve Inc. and Chestnut Medical Technologies Inc. were the only ones in which early backers received 10 times their outlay, the traditional standard for a venture-capitalist home run, Mendell said.”

Read the full article here.

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