The Daily Startup: NEA Partners Say Valuations are Poised to Descend

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

A lot of focus on the venture-capital industry has been about valuations of startups, especially late-stage valuations, which have soared and created hundreds of companies worth $1 billion or more. But two partners at New Enterprise Associates, which raised $3.15 billion for two venture funds this year, said those sky-high late-stage valuations are coming down. Several New Enterprise Associates portfolio companies closed on new capital this fall at modestly higher valuations, with increases of some 20%, for example, even as their revenue doubled between rounds, said Ravi Viswanathan, general partner at the Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm. A few months ago startups of a similar profile would have gotten much higher markups, he said. “We think this trend will continue and may even result in flat and down rounds increasing, even while companies continue to progress and grow,” said Rick Yang, a at NEA.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

IBoss Inc., a cybersecurity company that was bootstrapped to profitability by twin brothers, raised $35 million from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in its first-ever funding. Valuation is more than $500 million for what the company expects will be a $50 million Series A round.

AccelFoods, a food- and beverage-focused investor, has held a first close on its second fund, which is already substantially larger than the first fund it raised just a year ago, according to people familiar with the matter. The New York angel investor held a first close “in the high teens” for its next fund, which could exceed a $20 million target, one of the people added.

Weave, a Utah-based startup that makes a communications platform for small and medium-size businesses, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding to accelerate the company’s growth. The funding was led by Crosslink Capital, joined by Pelion Ventures, A Capital, Y Combinator, Initialized Capital, Peak Capital and individual investors.

CureVac AG, a German drug maker focused on messenger RNA therapeutics, has raised $110 million. The company which recently formed a Cambridge, Mass., subsidiary, raised this capital from new investor Baillie Gifford, which led the round, plus new backers Chartwave Ltd., Coppel Family, Northview and Sigma Group. Prior investors dievini Hopp BioTech holding GmbH & Co. KG and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also participated.

A lawsuit alleging sexual battery against Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir Technologies Inc. and an investor with venture firm Formation 8, has been dropped, according to a filing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Mr. Lonsdale had denied all of the allegations against him.

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Jawbone Files Antitrust Claim Against Fitbit . Fitness tracker maker Fitbit Inc. on Monday filed a complaint with the  International Trade Commission to halt U.S. imports of products from rival Jawbone that allegedly infringe on Fitbit patents, The Wall Street Journal’s Jack Nicas reports. The complaint, which was revealed in a securities filing, isn’t the first time the companies have gone to the trade commission–Jawbone previously asked for Fitbit products to be blocked for import.

Tencent Plans $1 Billion Investment in Chinese Technology Startup. Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. is near a deal to invest in a new startup that was formed by the merger of group-buying service and restaurant-review site Dianping Holdings Ltd., the WSJ’s Juro Osawa and Rick Carew report. The funding could value the startup at $20 billion, according to people familiar with the situation.

Xiaomi to Sell Smartphones in Africa. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. will begin sales in Africa this month as it continues its overseas expansion, the WSJ’s Eva Dou reports. The company’s move comes amid slowing sales in China.

Write to Mike Billings at Follow him on Twitter at @mbillings