The "pounding" tech stocks have been taking in the public market has forced Silicon Valley to wonder if a startup's ability to make a profit really does matter after all. But don't expect a moment of reckoning.
Only if the stock market free fall lasts another couple weeks or a month will it start to curb all those bonkers valuations, one IPO advisor told the Wall Street Journal. The downturn is only temporary, added Michael Moe of GSV Capital:
"I think prices will get more favorable for buyers because it will be more difficult to do megadeals at megavaluations" until the markets pick up steam, he said.
Tech stocks are sinking from their high. As of Wednesday, Twitter was down 39 percent, Facebook was down 17 percent, and Netflix was down 27 percent. King.com, the makers of Candy Crush, was down almost 20 percent since its IPO in March.
"Not a board meeting goes by when at least half the meeting isn't spent on financial strategy," said Mr. Breyer, who also is chief executive of Breyer Capital. "That might have been 25% of the board meeting six months ago and a much quicker and more conclusive discussion."
To get a better picture of the disconnect between Silicon Valley and Wall Street, look at how they reacted to Twitter's latest earnings report. Wall Street is dismayed about user growth, but venture capitalists think the future could not be brighter:
— Bill Gurley (@bgurley) April 12, 2014
— Chris Sacca (@sacca) April 14, 2014
There is merely a "growing caution" around whether startup's profitability matched their multibillion valuation, even though the effects are being felt. This month the hedge fund Coatue Management, which invested in the ride sharing company Lyft and Snapchat, said "it would return $2 billion to investors from its flagship fund after taking losses in March, reports the Journal.
It's just enough to inspire a smidge of self-reflection:
Venture capitalist Bill Gurley, a partner at Benchmark, said part of the blame lies with his industry. "You have seen an increasing amount of risk-taking by venture capitalists, pushing companies out that are further and further away from profitability."
"I think these experimental IPOs will struggle in this environment," he said.
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