Food Delivery Startup Postmates Delayed Its IPO, and It’s Not The Least Bit Surprising: Term Sheet

This article originally ran in Term Sheet, Fortune’s newsletter about deals and dealmakers. Sign up here.

In a shock to absolutely no one, food delivery service Postmates has delayed its initial public offering due to market conditions. 

“The reality is that we will IPO when we believe we find the right time for the business and the right time in the markets. And if you look at the markets right now, they are, I believe, a little choppy,” Lehmann said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. “They’re a little choppy when it comes to growth companies specifically.”

Allow me to define “a little choppy.” Lehmann looked around and saw a scary number of wounded unicorns. Uber and Lyft had their valuations slashed in half. Peloton and Slack have performed less than stellarly after going public this year. And of course, there’s WeWork, which just pulled its IPO in a swift move that seemed to signal: “Nah, we’re good.”

And then the tweets came. *Cue ominous music* “The rest of the world does not believe in Silicon Valley as much as Silicon Valley believes in itself.” “Is there something sinister around the corner?” “The latest sign that Wall Street is screwing with startups’ hopes and dreams.”

Does the news really signal something bigger about the market or is it just Postmates being Postmates? Under normal circumstances, yes, the IPO delay would be a shocker. But have you met Postmates? It’s not in the least bit surprising because we’ve seen it all with this company — the IPO rumors, the fundraising rumors, and of course, the rumors that Postmates will sell, causing CEO Bastian Lehmann to dismiss them as idle gossip, saying: “People talk so much shit about us at the barber shop, they forget to get a haircut.” It’s so prevalent that Lehmann had to shut down more sale speculators just yesterday.

No person or business has ever toyed with my emotions the way Postmates has, and the latest news is nothing out of the ordinary. Every time I think Postmates is about to go public, it just raises hundreds of millions of dollars instead. In September, it raised $300 million and Lehmann told me, “We have a beautiful path to an IPO in 2019.” And then, it raised $100 million more in January! It filed for an IPO in February. And then, it raised an additional $225 million from GPI Capital at a valuation of $2.4 billion!

To confuse us even more, Lehmann attempted to re-define the word “delay” with this tweet: “Business is booming — that’s all I will say. Plus, however the press spins it, we didn’t delay anything! We’re simply waiting for the best time to get out.”

So they didn’t delay, but they are waiting. See what I mean? 

Anyway, my question is: At what point do we stop blaming market conditions and start blaming the business model? It appears public market investors are losing patience with fast-growing startups make their public debut with S-1s that warn: “We expect our operating expenses to increase significantly in the foreseeable future, and we may not achieve profitability.”

The average IPO return for 2019 has dropped to 6%, down from 30% at the end of June, and recent deals suggest that public market investors have become much more selective about which money-losing companies to back.

My prediction? Growth at all costs is over. The next hot startup trend will be “a pivot to profit.” 

PEOPLE MOVES: Julie Yoo joined Andreessen Horowitz as the firm’s newest general partner. Yoo will work on the bio fund with a focus on healthcare technology. “Nearly every industry has been digitized, but healthcare is the one place where we still have to pick up the phone and wait,” she told Term Sheet. “We’re at a tipping point.” Yoo previously co-founded Kyruus, a Boston-based developer of a routing and scheduling platform for hospital systems.


- Casavo, an Italy-based online real estate marketplace, raised €50 million ($55 million) in Series B funding. Greenoaks led the round. 

- Satelles, Inc, a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of secure satellite-based time and location services, raised $26 million in Series C funding. C5 Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Iridium Communications.

- Lyte Inc, a San Francisco-based event ticketing startup, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Investors include Jackson Square Ventures, Industry Ventures, Accomplice Ventures and Correlation Ventures.

- Wild Type, a San Francisco-based startup developing cultured salmon, raised $12.5 million in Series A funding. CRV led the round, and was joined by investors including Maven Ventures, Spark Capital and Root Ventures.

- BrainCheck, a Houston, Texas-based cognitive healthcare platform, raised $8 million in Series A funding. S3 Ventures and Tensility Venture Partners co-led the round.

- Codacy, a Portugal-based provider of a platform that automates and standardizes software quality, raised $7.7 million in funding. Join Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including EQT Ventures, Armilar Venture Partners, Faber Ventures and Caixa Capital.

- Shujinko, a Seattle-based provider of cloud compliance software, raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Unusual Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Defy.

- Doorstead, a San Francisco-based operations brokerage that provides property management, raised $3.3 million in seed funding. M13 and Silicon Valley Data Capital co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Venture Reality Fund and SOMA Capital. 

- Place Technology, an Austin, Texas-based maker of corporate performance management solutions, raised $3 million in funding. Geekdom Fund led the round.

- Augmenta, a Greece-based precision agriculture company, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Hardware Club and Marathon Venture Capital co-led the round. 

- Sensatek Propulsion Inc, a Daytona Beach, Florida-based provider of wireless sensors for real-time monitoring of temperature, pressure, and strain in gas turbines, raised $2 million in funding. Rhapsody Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Cloquet Capital Partners, StarterStudio and VentureWell.

- Everyware, a San Francisco-based payment processing and pay-by-text company, raised Series A funding of an undisclosed amount. TTV Capital led the round.


- Adicet Bio, Inc, a New York-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of allogeneic cell therapies for cancer, raised $80 million in Series B funding. Investors include aMoon2 Fund, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), OCI Enterprises, Inc, KB Investment Co., Ltd., Consensus Business Group, SBI JI Innovation Fund, Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, Handok, Inc., and DSC Investment, Inc. 

- ImmunoMolecular Therapeutics, a Woburn, Massachussetts-based clinical stage company developing personalized therapies for autoimmune disease, raised $10 million in Series A funding. JDRF T1D Fund and Morningside Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by investors including  the Colorado University Healthcare Innovation Fund. 


- VSS and Trivest Partners made an investment in Quatrro Business Support Services, a Marietta, Georgia-based provider of tech-enabled business process outsourcing services. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Victor Capital Partners made an investment in Rizzo Group, a New York-based provider of building code and zoning compliance services for the commercial real estate industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Victor Capital Partners made an investment in CodeGreen Solutions, a New York-based provider of energy management and sustainability services for the commercial real estate industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


- Kemberton acquired Advanced Patient Advocacy, a Columbia, Maryland-based provider of disability evaluation and advocacy services. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


- Fangdd Network Group, a Shenzhen-based Chinese online real estate trading platform, filed for a $150 million IPO. It posted revenue of $69.4 million in 2018 and loss of $2.3 million in 2018. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “DUO.” Read more.

- Megvii, a China-based tech firm focused on AI said to be seeking an IPO in Hong Kong, was placed on the Trump administration’s blacklist among companies implicated in repressing Muslim minorities in the nation. Goldman Sachs is now reviewing its involvement in the IPO. Read more.


- WellSky Corporation agreed to acquire ClearCare, Inc, a San Francisco-based software provider for the home-care market, from Battery Ventures. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Thoma Bravo acquired IDS, a Minneapolis-based provider of asset finance software solutions, from SV Investment Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- acquired Megacool, a San Francisco-based mobile game clipping and sharing technology. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Megacool had raised approximately $1.5 million in venture funding from investors including Alliance Venture.

- Levine Leichtman Capital Partners sold Nobles Worldwide Inc, a St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin-based manufacturer of flexible ammunition chutes, to an affiliate of Ducommun Incorporated

- Ardian acquired a majority stake in Staci, a France-based company focused on specialty logistics, from Cobepa. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


- Costanoa Ventures named Amy Cheetham as vice president and Tony Liu as an associate. It also promoted Casey Aylward to vice president and Rachel Quon to director of marketing. 

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