Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.
How quickly our world has changed. In late February, TechCrunch covered the news that TripActions, a unicorn four times over, had secured a $500 million credit line to help it scale its corporate travel-focused business; however, it became known yesterday that TripActions is undergoing stiff layoffs after the corporate travel market transformed from growing to moribund in light of the global outbreak of COVID-19.
Many aspects of the public market are now different: public companies are pulling guidance; the Olympics is postponed; domestic life has been overturned by lockdowns and social distancing recommendations; and at the heart of what this publication covers, the venture capital scene has changed as well — not that you could tell from reading Twitter, mind. VCs love to tweet that they are still writing checks, and in some cases, it’s even true.
Inside the investor community, however, there’s some calling bullshit on the idea that the venture capital market is matching anything like its prior pace of business. Here’s Gil Debner from Angular Ventures:
VC market has completely locked up. Growth stage bankers are reaching out to me (a very early-stage fund) to see if we want to join $10M rounds.
— Gil Dibner (@gdibner) March 24, 2020
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
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Just saw a company with a verbal $1.5m at $15m seed+ round from their lead seed investor become a $500k at $10m offer. Lots of this happening out there.
— Sheel Mohnot (@pitdesi) March 23, 2020
Founders are feeling the pinch. To better understand what the fundraising market is like for entrepreneurs today, TechCrunch asked founders to write in with fundraising stories. Below, we’ve compiled a fair number.
Many people asked to remain anonymous so most anecdotes are shielded. Normally, I wouldn’t grant such broad protections. But we’re all learning together, and I’m not after any particular point, so we can be generous. (Write in if you have your own story, and we may include it in a future piece.)
Technology Deals and dreams
What founders sent in ran the gamut, but mostly fell into two camps:
- Deals were kaput and few (if any) investors are writing checks.
- While the investing market had slowed, it was still moving some, if only a little.
As a final programming note, I’ve mostly kept original formatting from the notes that were sent in; in some cases, very light edits have been made.
Deals are dead
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