Above the Crowd

Archive for the ‘Venture Capital’ Category

Going Public Circa 2020; Door #3: The SPAC

August 23, 2020:

If you are looking past or through Covid — and why not, all of Wall Street is — the topic du jour in Silicon Valley is Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, or SPACs. SPACs are all the rage, and everybody and their brother have either raised one or are talking about raising one. What are they, and do they matter right now? Historically they have been a kind of back-door way for a company to go public, and as a result have historically had a sub-standard reputation. But in light of where we are in 2020, especially with regard to the […]

Read More

Money Out of Nowhere: How Internet Marketplaces Unlock Economic Wealth

February 27, 2019:

(*) Benchmark is/was an investor in companies labeled with the asterisk. In 1776, Adam Smith released his magnum opus, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations , in which he outlined his fundamental economic theories. Front and center in the book — in fact in Book 1, Chapter 1 — is his realization of the productivity improvements made possible through the “Division of Labour”: It is the great multiplication of the production of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. Every workman has a […]

Read More

“Customer First” Healthcare

December 18, 2017:

The subject of the “consumerization of healthcare” has been around for many years. Most frequently people use this phrase in association with personal technology devices (heart-monitors, exercise accessories, sleep monitors, etc) that allow consumers to take direct control of their health information. There is however, a more important trend that relates alternatively to the consumerization of the “business” of healthcare. While other industries often speak of being “customer centric” or “putting the customer first,” the U.S. healthcare system rarely thinks of the patient as a customer. One could go even farther, and suggest that the U.S. healthcare market is the […]

Read More

On the Road to Recap:

April 21, 2016:

Why the Unicorn Financing Market Just Became Dangerous…For All Involved In February of last year, Fortune magazine writers Erin Griffith and Dan Primack declared 2015 “ The Age of the Unicorns ” noting — “Fortune counts more than 80 startups that have been valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists.” By January of 2016, that number had ballooned to 229 . One key to this population growth has been the remarkable ease of the Unicorn fundraising process: Pick a new valuation well above your last one, put together a presentation deck, solicit offers, and watch the hundreds of million of dollars flow into your bank account. […]

Read More

Investors Beware: Today’s $100M+ Late-stage Private Rounds Are Very Different from an IPO

February 25, 2015:

[An edited version of the following blog post originally appeared in a modified form in the pages of the weekend edition of the Financial Times last Saturday.] Every successful technology company raises money throughout its lifecycle, perhaps starting with a seed investment and progressing through Series A, B, C, late-stage investments, and, for the most successful companies, an IPO. Historically, different financial institutions specialized in different stages, because the assessment of risk and opportunity was considered unique at each stage — for example, a seed investor was unlikely to do late-stage financing, and vice versa. Over the last few years, the late-stage (pre-IPO) market has become the most competitive, the most crowded, and the frothiest of […]

Read More