Remember The Unicorn Club of startups that secured an esteemed $1 billion valuation? Might as well be The Garbage Club now, full of trifling companies with worth the kind of coin one chucks out the window from the backseat of an Uber. Why, in the past 24 hours alone, Pinterest and Uber reportedly increased their valuations by a collective $8.7 billion.
Venture capitalists bestowed a $3.8 billion valuation on Pinterest seven months ago. Now the make-your-own-catalog site with "little revenue" raised a $200 million Series F (as in its sixth round of venture funding) at a $5 billion valuation.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Uber, which locked down a $3.5 billion last August, is in talks to raise less than $1 billion and an extra digit on its valuation:
"Uber Technologies Inc. is seeking to join the $10 billion-plus club."
Why must everything be a club? Because it is! Just imagine CEO Travis Kalanick's face when his "sharing" economy buddy Airbnb announced a $10 billion valuation last month, more than twice his money-minting e-hailing machine. Nuh-uh, honey:
If Uber completes a round at more than $10 billion, it would join an exclusive group of closely held companies with 11-digit valuations. Room-sharing service Airbnb Inc. and online storage service Dropbox Inc. were valued at $10 billion in recent fundraisings, while Palantir Technologies Inc. sought at least a $9 billion value last year. By contrast, the median market capitalization for technology companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index is about $16 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
It doesn't seem like the same kind of wild grab for dollars while they're still within reach. Sure, it's the same Bloomberg reporter who mistakenly believed that Tinder was worth $5 billion, but Uber's revenue is astounding and its investors at Google Ventures have no qualms about trying to make it a monopoly. And of all the social networks, Pinterest has always been upfront about its ecommerce ambitions, unencumbered by a need to appeal to cool #teens.
ReadWrite, which broke the news of the investment said Pinterest's "Guided Search" option was an attempt to cut into Google's territory.
After four years, Pinterest just launched its first promotional pins a few days ago. SV Angel's David Lee told TechCrunch:
"Google is 'I'm looking for this particular camera and model number.'" Lee said, emphasizing the big difference between Google and his potential golden goose, "Pinterest is discovery: 'What are the cool cameras?'"
The only thing surprising here is that an early-stage investment firm like SV Angel led the late-stage investment round, coordinating the deal "for many of its friends and some of its LPs through a special purpose vehicle." Then again, there seems to be a case of identity crisis going around Silicon Valley.
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