I never liked the term Unicorn. It never made sense to me to aspire to something mythical and therefore of theoretical value.
I’ve written before about the risks associated with trying to make unicorns and the fact that entrepreneurs are the ones who bare the burden of the risks associated with a go big or stay home company building philosophy. Unfortunately, over the past several years, tech-entrepreneurship seemed to become synonymous with making unicorns. If you weren’t working toward a billion dollar valuation in short order, you were wasting your time and the time of all of the investors to whom you were pitching your business plan.
For entrepreneurs who – for the past five years – have been enamored to achieve unicorn status, it may be time to leave the…
You would have to be hiding under a rock to have missed the shift in private tech investor sentiment that has become apparent over the past several weeks. Truth is, this shift has been underway for some time. The final stage – when the change in psychology fully reveals itself in the popular tech media – always arrives more violently than the trends at its core justifies.
Root Cause of the Great Reset
It all starts with the IPO market. Tech IPOs haven’t fared particularly well. The chart below shows the performance of venture backed tech IPOs since Facebook’s IPO through November 2015.
The average tech IPO performance is positive, but the distribution is skewed toward losers with one “gainer”…
I’m sure that many more thoughtful than me have written about the moral hazard of venture capital. In economics, moral hazard occurs when one person takes an unreasonable risk because someone else will bear the burden of the negative consequences. In the age of unicorns, the moral hazard in venture capital has never been greater. Moral hazard and exuberance to make unicorns leads to unicorpses. I was reminded of this today during a conversation with an emerging growth business run by capable, yet young entrepreneurs.
The 20 something entrepreneurs with whom I was talking have built a solid, already profitable business generating $4.3 million ARR. The company has taken a total of $200k of outside financing. With a modest amount of incremental…