Are startups prepared for what the rest of 2022 has in store?
Founders don’t have to look far for a venture capitalist’s guide to surviving the private market collapse. All it takes is a quick Google search. At this point, it seems that basically every VC firm has issued their own laundry list of tips on how to rake up cash quickly and suddenly trim expenses.
The survival guides may be everywhere—but the mea culpas, not so much.
During a roundtable I moderated last week at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference in Aspen, Colo., SoftBank Investment Advisers managing partner Lydia Jett was quick to say that private companies haven’t adjusted for today’s market—and venture capitalists are in part to blame for that, too.
“We collectively built companies to build [in] a very different culture than the culture we have today, economically,” Jett said during the discussion, noting that it was an “unpopular” topic.
“You read all of these blogs out there from investors saying, ‘Here’s what you need to do, companies,’ and the reality is, investors told companies to do a very different thing for the last two years,” Jett said. “I think we collectively as investors need to acknowledge our huge role in this.”
Last year, the cash was seemingly endless. It was much easier for founders to raise capital, and they had a lot of leverage over their funding rounds and their valuations. Rounds were being closed in mere weeks—and it had become hyper-competitive for investors to win a spot on the cap table.
Now, with dozens of companies laying off employees—or, in the worst of cases, having to deploy new business models or even filing for bankruptcy—companies are being forced to restrategize and grow in a new way. But, according to Jett, companies haven’t come to terms with the new market conditions. “A lot more has to come out of this market before companies start thinking about cash flow, which will take them into the public market successfully,” Jett said. As of now, she said that she worried investors were “going to put weak companies out into the public market, which is not a great place—nobody wants to be a weak public company that can’t find price support.”
Even when IPOs start trickling back in, public investors will have a new set of expectations, according to Bonnie Hyun, the U.S. head of capital markets at the New York Stock Exchange, who also spoke on the roundtable.
“I think the companies that are going to open the market, when it comes back, are going to be ones that have scale, that have that predictability, that have that profitability, because that’s what the buy side is looking for to mitigate the risk,” she said.
Some companies will be positioned for that, sure. Others won’t be—or perhaps won’t be around at all.
See you tomorrow,
Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.
- Monolith, a Lincoln, Neb.-based clean hydrogen company, raised more than $300 million in funding. TPG Rise Climate and Decarbonization Partners led the round and were joined by investors including Magnetar, NextEra Energy Resources, SK Group, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
- Impress, a Barcelona-based orthodontics company, raised $125 million in Series B funding. LBO France, Norgine Ventures, Claret Capital Partners, TA Ventures, Uniqa Ventures, and Nickleby Capital invested in the round.
- AI21 Labs, a Tel Aviv-based machine learning company, raised $64 million in Series B funding. Ahren led the round and was joined by investors including professor Amnon Shashua, Walden Catalyst, Pitango, TPY Capital, and Mark Leslie.
- Okendo, a Sydney-based customer review platform for ecommerce brands, raised $26 million Series A funding. Base10 Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Craft Ventures and Index Ventures.
- Vegrow, a Bengaluru, India-based B2B marketplace for fruits, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Prosus Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Matrix Partners India, Elevation Capital, Lightspeed, and Ankur Capital.
- Stationhead, a New York-based social music platform for artists and fans, raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Buttonwood Group Advisors.
- Super Mojo, a New York-based NFT financing platform, raised $6 million in seed funding. BH Digital, DRW Venture Capital, Intersection Growth Partners, Neuberger Berman, Sfermion, Arca, Gemini, Everyrealm, Arrington Capital, BlockFi Ventures, and others invested in the round.
- Hintsa Performance, an Abu Dhabi, Helsinki, London, and Zurich-based coaching and well-being services platform, raised €5.1 million ($5.18 million) in funding. Ex-Unilever CEO Paul Polman, K5 Global, James Corden, and Charles Plowden invested in the round.
- Fairbank, a portfolio company of Pfingsten, acquired G&R Ag Products, a Caldwell, Idaho-based agricultural parts distributor. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- GoHenry acquired Pixpay, a Paris-based payment card company for teens. Financial terms were not disclosed.
FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS
- Battery Ventures, a Boston and San Francisco-based investment firm, raised $3.8 billion for a multi-stage fund focused on tech companies across multiple sectors.
- Cinven, a London-based private equity firm, raised €1.5 billion ($1.52 billion) for a fund focused on financial services companies in Europe.
- Clearlake Capital, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based investment firm, promoted Arta Tabaee to partner and managing director, Paul Huber to managing director, Nate Mejías to principal, and Sean Courtney, Dilshat Erkin, Ben Kruger, and Emily Mullins to senior vice presidents. The company also hired Neeka Choobineh, Josh Kim, and Alvaro Rodrigo as senior associates, and Serine Novshadian as vice president. Formerly, Choobineh was with Warburg Pincus, Kim was with GI Partners, Rodrigo was with Sixth Street, and Novshadian was with Saban Capital Group.
- Gemspring Capital, a Westport, Conn.-based private equity firm, hired Jay Reynolds as a managing director. Formerly, he was with The Riverside Company.
- QED Investors, an Alexandria, Va.-based venture capital firm, hired Courtney Christianson as head of investor relations. Formerly, she was with KSL Capital Partners.
- VSS Capital Partners, a New York-based private investment firm, hired W. Preston Hutchings as senior advisor. Formerly, he was with Arch Capital Group.