High valuations are seeing reality checks at exit.
Recently, Blue Apron priced their IPO with a valuation lower than their previous round, and the company’s share price continues to fall in public markets. As other companies become M&A targets or get set to go public, not all will be good outcomes for investors. We used CB Insights data to map out the number of down exits in the US since 2012 for companies with disclosed exit valuations.
*Analysis is of first exits. Acqui-hires, asset sales, and exits for a valuation less than a previous valuation were analyzed.
While there’s been a general up and down in the number of down exits over time, 2016 broke 100 down exits. This happened previously in 2013, but slowed down in the few years after. 2017 has seen 49 down exits through the first half of the year, putting it on pace to be just under the previous year’s total. Some notable downrounds this year have been Nasty Gal (dropped by 94% in value from a high of $397M+) and RadiumOne (dropped by 89% in value from $200M).
Since 2013, a few unicorns lost their horns in very large down exits. Several have been in the electric vehicle space, including Fisker Automotive (valued at nearly $2B before being sold for less than $150M in 2014) and Better Place (valued at $2.25B before being sold for less than $1M in 2013). More recently we’ve seen a few in the once hot discount deals category, including Fab.com and One Kings Lane, both acquired ironically in their own fire sales.
To see our line by line list of recent downrounds and down exits, see our downround tracker.
Down exits were a larger percent of total exits in 2012 and 2013, above 2% in 2012 and even breaking 3% in 2013. In 2014 however the total number of first exits increased significantly and the percentage of down exits dropped below 2%. 2016 saw it increase once again, but 2017 has so far seen a return to the <2% range.