Public markets fall yet again as venture deal counts appear to slip

Startups

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

All around, this has been a tough week. The coronavirus is spreading and worry is running high as infections mount. In economic terms, global markets were repeated declines last night (domestic results here), and the U.S. indices are off again this morning.

There’s been plenty of bad news to read, even in our private market, startup-focused world. Yesterday the impact of COVID-19 on earnings became more apparent, bringing what has, for months, been an external concern to domestic technology companies. The problems are now. The past week’s market collapse into correction territory hasn’t helped,.

But the story so far has largely been public-market focused and with good reason: You can see the public markets contract in real-time. It’s far harder to see into the shifting dynamics of the private market. Today, however, we are going to try, all the same, by digging into some preliminary venture capital data.

I realize that the last few days have been awful. So, at the end of this piece, I’ve excerpted a quote from a recent interview I held with the CEO of Smartsheet, Mark Mader, about tech cycles, downturns, and getting through tough times. It’s perhaps useful today as the downward trend appears to continue.

Let’s start with a brief reminder of how elevated stock prices remain and what that means for tech multiples, and then look at early February VC results from the U.S., China and Europe. With that, in Sanskrit: अभिमुखी करोति.

Multiples, Markets

Before we dig into the venture capital data, a reminder that, even with recent declines, we’re still in warm waters as far as tech valuations go.

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