Unicorn common stock? Good luck.
Fred Wilson's 2017 predictions are a fun read (see The Blurb). They're historically about 50% right per Fred so don't take them as gospel, but they're interesting, cover a lot of ground, and are thought-provoking.
Fred also sees old-school corporations doing more M&A this year which we'd shown in yesterday's newsletter is already happening.
But one of his predictions is that there will be more tech IPOs in 2017 than there were in 2000.
While it's not as bold, prescient, or fun to take the other side of this prediction, there is zero chance of this happening.
Of course, there is some fatigue setting in with those later-stage private capital sources as we detailed in our Tech IPO Pipeline Report and this decreased interest from them should be a tailwind for the 2017 IPO market.
- Public markets are more discerning, i.e. cr@p companies can't go public as easily
- Being public is way "less fun" than it was in 2000
- The access to private capital that exists now from hedge funds, mutual funds, etc didn't exist in 2000 and so serves as an alternative to going public
So yes, it will definitely be a better year for tech IPOs.
It couldn't get much worse than 2016.
So that's not much of a call. But reaching 2000 levels, no chance.
But if Fred is right about IPOs, he will be happy to know that this will bring lots of corporate VCs into the VC game :)
We mapped the 32 most well-funded tech startups in the United Arab Emirates that have raised funding since 2013. E-commerce company Noon, which raised $1B in funding in November 2016, sits at the top of the list.
The power law of nuclear warheads?
Thankfully, Russia and the US are friendly now.
We look at the most active investors in the construction tech space since 2012 and see that accelerators take the top two spots. 500 Accelerator and Y Combinator have both invested in 6 construction tech companies.
Guns are not a problem in the USA
It's these motherf'n toddlers.
Keep an eye out
With CES just a day away, we put together a list of 10 key companies to watch. To access the full list of exhibitors at the show, check out the public collection, CES 2017 Startups, on the CB Insights platform.
Anova, maker of an automated sous vide cooker, featured below.
Unicorn employees — beware
Scott Belsky (@scottbelsky), entrepreneur and venture partner at Benchmark, recently penned a great post (see the Blurb) talking about the things to look for when evaluating your unicorn company job offer and options. It is worth a read.
And the questions you need to ask are complicated as you'll see in Scott's post. And unless you are very senior, it is unlikely you can get all the data and answers from the company.
To give you a sense for how complicated the stock option puzzle is for a unicorn, we took a look at enhanced valuation data on CB Insights where we dig into state filings.
Let's take 23andMe for example.
Their profile (screenshot below) highlights a senior liquidation preference and some of the summary terms we pull from the filings.
It's when you dig into the filings tab that you realize how complicated the structure really is. Here is 23andMe's most recent Certificate of Incorporation (COI) from June 2016. We have 8 of them starting with one in May 2007.
Section 6 on Restrictions and Limitations where they detail the protective provisions was a 1/2 page in their first COI from May 2007. In the recent filing, you'll see it's a good bit longer.
This is the case for most unicorns and in some sense, it makes sense given how much capital they've raised. The problem as you read these docs beyond their utter and insane complexity is where employees fall in the pecking order. Hint: the bottom.
Go read Scott's post if you're thinking of working at a unicorn and if a big part of your calculus is the equity.
BTW, Scott will be at The Innovation Summit talking about product, design, and customer experience. It will be good. Watch his talk on the livestream here.
Notes: We're working on a way for startup employees to get access to these docs so they can make better informed decisions.
The Industry Standard
CB Insights data is the most trusted by those in the industry and the media. A few recent hits.
Forbes. Jill Richmond (@jillrichmond77) on increasing investor interest in the femtech space with a reference to CB Insights investment data.
Business Insider. Biz Carson (@bizcarson) writes about the tech startups that are IPO candidates to watch in 2017 and refers to the CB Insights 2017 Tech IPO Report.
Times of Israel. Shoshanna Solomon discusses fintech startup Behalf and cites CB Insights global funding data.
I love you.
P.S. The Innovation Summit is sold out. Don't miss the Future of Fintech at Lincoln Center — June 26 to 28, 2017.
P.P.S. You won't be on the beach in Santa Barbara like the rest of us, but you can still watch The Innovation Summit livestream.