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Valuation Metrics and the Unicorn Club - A wild 10 year ride that is not over yet

with the Metrics Brothers

Aileen Lee, Founder and Managing Partner at Cowboy Ventures recently wrote an article entitled "Welcome Back to the Unicorn Club, 10 Years Later" (1/18/24) which was a follow up to an article she wrote in November, 2013 entitled "Welcome to the Unicorn Club: Learning from Billion-Dollar Startups".

Our SaaS Talk with the Metrics Brothers co-hosts, Dave "CAC" Kellogg and Ray "Growth" Rike do a deep dive into how private and public company valuations are calculate, explore the difference between Market Capitalization and Enterprise Value, and uncover a few of the "inside baseball" secrets to how $1B Unicorn may be worth much less.

Topics discussed include:

  • Market Capitalization

  • Enterprise Value

  • Participating vs Non-Participating Preferences

  • 1x, 2x and 3x Liquidation Preference

  • Common vs Preferred Stock in a Private Company

  • Stock Option Re-pricing - beware the last post money Unicorn valuation

  • Onceacorn, Decacorn, Supercorn, ZIRPicorns, Papercorn, Zombiecorn, Unicorpse

The number of unicorns has grown from 39 in 2013 to 532 in 2023 per Cowboy Ventures (1,000 according to Battery Ventures). Unfortunately ~ 40% are trading for a much lower price on secondary markets than the last post-money valuations.

If you love the idea of creating or being part of a VC backed company worth more than $1B, or are just interested in the material reduction in the creation of new unicorns, this episode is full of detail, insights and a little humor!

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