PitchBook News - Seed stage dodges VC valuation slide

Clawback risk becomes reality for GPs; real assets outperform other strategies; Europe's female founders dive into 2024
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The Daily Pitch: VC
February 8, 2024
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Today's Top Stories  
VC valuations slump persists
VC valuations continued to slide from their peaks in 2021 and early 2022, with only pre-seed and seed deals bucking the trend. While median early-stage and late-stage valuations fell to their three- and five-year lows, respectively, an abundance of small funds competing for seed deals helped to keep prices up for companies in those categories.

Not only did 2023 see a dismally low number of IPOs, but also the median valuation of startups that managed to make a public debut declined to the lowest level in a decade. Although M&A activity dropped too, acquisition valuations increased year-over-year, according to our 2023 Annual US VC Valuations Report, sponsored by Morgan Stanley At Work and Mintz.
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LP clawbacks move from theoretical risk to reality for GPs
(Arthur Morris/Getty Images)
Clawback provisions in limited partner agreements are designed to avoid GPs taking excessive carried interest payments relative to overall fund profits. These provisions have long posed a theoretical risk to GPs.

But today's tight exit conditions have made that risk real for many GPs as they try to avoid repaying carry they have earned in earlier exits.
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Europe's female founders keep momentum alive in January
Europe's female founders are still wheeling and dealing as the momentum from the last months of 2023 continues into the new year, according to our European VC female founders dashboard.
  • European startups with at least one female founder garnered €881 million over 137 deals in the first month of 2024, keeping up the pace seen in December.

  • Notable deals in January included a €271 million Series D for German corporate mobile device operator Everphone and a $17.4 million Series B for Swiss biopharmaceutical company Stalicla, founded by CEO Lynn Durham.
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Real assets outshines other private capital strategies
(shunli zhao/Getty Images)
Real assets fund performance continued to outperform other private market strategies for the fourth quarter running, attesting to the asset class's low volatility and counter-cyclical nature.
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PE funds see short-lived revival
(Martin Barraud/Getty Images)
PE fund performance bounced back early last year after notching negative returns. But the recovery may have been short-lived.

Funds valued at over $1 billion experienced the most pointed improvement in Q2 2023, but they have yet to catch up to the smallest funds, those sized at under $250 million, which have consistently outperformed their peers.
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Do presidential elections affect high-yield, leveraged loan returns?
(Douglas Rissing/Getty Images)
How do the high-yield bond and leveraged loan markets perform in election years? LCD did a deep dive, and the findings may provide fodder for yet another election year food fight.

In the years when a Republican won the presidential election, those markets outperformed the years when a Democrat won.

But in the year following presidential election years, these asset classes outperformed after Democratic wins, and by larger margins.
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VC Deals  
The Walt Disney Company is investing $1.5 billion into "Fortnite" maker Epic Games.

Zededa, a San Jose-based edge computing startup, raised a $72 million Series C led by Smith Point Capital.

Screendragon, a SaaS-based workflow automation company based in the UK and Ireland, has raised $27 million from Kennet Partners and Federated Hermes Private Equity.

Estonia's Tuum, secured €25 million in a Series B led by CommerzVentures for its cloud-native banking platform.

Overflow, which offers a donations platform for nonprofits and other organizations, raised a $20 million Series B led by Wesleyan Investment Foundation.

Israel-based supply chain management startup Sensos raised a $20 million Series A led by Magenta Venture Partners, Axios reported.

3D modeling startup Polycam raised an $18 million Series A led by Left Lane Capital and Adjacent.

Costanoa Ventures led a $13.5 million Series A for San Francisco-based insurtech startup Shepherd.

Amperesand, a Singapore-based electricity infrastructure startup, raised $12.45 million in a seed round led by Xora Innovation and Material Impact.

Miami-based Finally secured a $10 million investment led by PeakSpan Capital. The startup's platform helps businesses automate their bookkeeping.

Berlin's Dude Chem, a green chemical manufacturing specialist, raised €6.5 million in a seed round led by Vorwerk Ventures and B2venture.

Clue Software secured £4 million in a round led by Frog Capital. The UK-based company offers investigations and intelligence management software.
Don't miss our upcoming webinar
Despite poor public stock performance last year, our analysts say the economy performed better than anticipated, and we can anticipate a steadier trickle of IPOs in 2024 if interest rates begin to decrease. Still, intensifying hurdles like dwindling cash runways and access to capital are driving startups and investors to approach 2024 with even greater caution.

In partnership with the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and sponsored by J.P. Morgan, Dentons, and Deloitte, this webinar will highlight key findings from the Q4 2023 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor and what investors should be aware of in 2024. Key topics include:
  • Later-stage companies, many of which should have exited by now, have been impacted the most by the significant slowing of deal activity YoY across all stages.

  • Despite some high-profile IPOs, we are far from an IPO comeback, leaving many companies at the mercy of an investor-friendly fundraising market.

  • Nontraditional investors have continued to reduce their VC appetite. Given the current interest rate environment, we don't expect many of them to return for quite some time.
Register now to secure your spot.
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PE Deals  
Charlesbank Capital Partners has backed Perspective Financial Group, an insurance and investment services provider, taking over as Perspective's lead PE investor from CBPE Capital.

Texas-based Trive Capital has completed its take-private of London-listed bowling center operator Ten Entertainment Group.

London-based Exponent has agreed to invest in Irish generic pharmaceuticals company Chanelle Pharma.

Braemont Capital has acquired construction services provider Loenbro from Tailwind Capital.
Exits & IPOs  
Permira plans to sell Best Secret, a German fashion retail club, potentially valuing the business at more than €4 billion, Bloomberg reported.
London's Ancala Partners closed its Infrastructure Fund III on €1.4 billion.

Coalesce Capital closed its Fund I and parallel vehicles on $900 million.

VC firm Scion Life Sciences closed its inaugural fund on $310 million.

The Riverside Company held a $235 million final close of Riverside Acceleration Capital Opportunity Fund II, which will back B2B software companies.

Munich-based VC firm Picus Capital held a first close of its second flagship fund, reaching 70% of its €200 million target.

Dutch impact investor Future Food Fund closed its second vehicle on €40 million. The fund will target seed and Series A investments in Western Europe.
Sweden's SEB Group launched a PE European long-term investment fund, designed to encourage investment in companies and infrastructure projects requiring long-term capital. It is one of the first managers to do so since new European regulation covering such funds came into force last month.
Chart of the Day  
Source: 2023 Annual US PE Breakdown
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