France, and what's at stake for the markets

Plus: Tracking deSPAC performance; the 10 most active French VCs; US VC exit activity cools off & more
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The Weekend Pitch
April 24, 2022
Presented by Masterworks
(Drew Sanders/PitchBook News)
This is Andrew Woodman in London. As I write, the outcome of France's presidential election is not yet decided. There's a chance that, come Sunday, President Emmanuel Macron will be reelected—a first for a French president in 20 years. There is also the very real possibility that France could have a new leader in the shape of Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right National Rally.

The latter outcome would be historic. A victory for Le Pen would have far-reaching consequences not just for Europe's geopolitics but also for its economy and private markets. Even if France opts for Macron and the status quo, this showdown between two sharply contrasting political philosophies is replete with signs that, for better or worse, uncertainty is the new normal.

Welcome back to The Weekend Pitch. You can reach me at andrew.woodman@pitchbook.com or on Twitter @adwoodman.

We have been here before. The last time Le Pen went face-to-face with Macron was in 2017. Back then, the fresh-faced 39-year-old, with his newly formed party En Marche, handily beat his rival with a 66% share of the vote. It was a reassuring outcome for centrist politics at a time when populism was on the march elsewhere. Just six months earlier, the US had elected Donald Trump as its new president, while at the same time a vote for Brexit had left the UK's politics in disarray.
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Quote/Unquote

"One of the terrible things Silicon Valley has done is convince founders that the only way to build a big company is by raising lots of money and hiring people constantly."

Plaid co-founder William Hockey tells Axios.

Last week, the former president and chief technology officer of Plaid announced the launch of his new fintech startup Column.
(Dmitrii_Guzhanin/Getty Images)

Deal Flow

SPAC acquisitions generated $24.1 billion across 30 deals in Q1 2022, according to PitchBook data. Our analysts say the dearth of potential target companies compared to the frenzy around SPACs was always going to cause some market distortions.

Now, the added possibility of the end of the bull market for growth assets will likely accelerate the number of SPACs that fail to find a target.

Our recent analyst note maps current SPAC market activity and introduces an index to track public performance of deSPAC combinations after the mergers have been completed.
(Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images)

Did you know ...

... That France is Europe's second-largest VC hub by capital invested? French startups amassed €10.7 billion in 2021, more than double the amount raised in 2019.

Here's a closer look at the 10 most active VCs from France by deal count since 2017.
(StratosGiannikos/Getty Images)

Datapoints

Venture-backed exit value in the US reached $33.6 billion in the first three months of 2022, according to the latest PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. That number marks an 82.5% collapse from the previous quarter.

The near halt in public listings comes on the heels of a marked jump in late-stage valuations.

Recommended reads

How Amazon's labor issues are exposing the complicated truth about getting what we want when we want it. [Vox]

An interview with Construct Capital founders Rachel Holt and Dayna Grayson on the fragility of the manufacturing space, their goal of backing overlooked startups and the "Uber mafia." [The Information]

Companies with high ESG ratings have gained attention as of late, but is there such a thing as too much love? [Institutional Investor]

As war rages on in Ukraine, one new initiative is working hard to preserve the country's design profession. [Fast Company]

The story of the Silk Road dark web market creator, the nine-figure debt he owes to the US government and a hacker who stole a massive amount of bitcoin. [Wired]

How Russian oligarchs' billions are leading to madness at one buyout firm. [Bloomberg]
This edition of The Weekend Pitch was written by Andrew Woodman and Priyamvada Mathur. It was edited by Alexander Davis, John Moore and Angela Sams.

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