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Raising venture rounds for startup founders in 2023 has posed significant challenges. According to the latest report from CB Insights, startups are experiencing notable valuation declines across nearly all stages globally. However, there’s more to this trend than meets the eye:

  • Declining Valuations: The median valuation at every startup stage witnessed a decline in Q2 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year. Late-stage investment, specifically Series D and beyond, experienced a drastic fall of up to 60%.
  • Deal Volume Shrinkage: The frequency of deals across all stages is expected to decrease this year. For instance, CB Insights forecasts a reduction of 41% and 62% in Series D+ deals compared to 2022 and 2021, respectively.
  • Late-stage Dealmaking Challenges: The declining trend in late-stage dealmaking could lead to a challenging capital-raising environment for startups in their later stages. However, it may also serve as a filter, eliminating startups that do not meet growth and scale expectations.
  • A Silver Lining in the Declining Trend: Despite the general decline, there’s a slight improvement in median valuations for seed/angel and Series B deals, indicating a slightly better scenario for early-stage startups.
  • Implications for Late-stage Startups: As capital becomes less accessible, late-stage startups may have to explore alternatives such as IPOs or consolidation. However, with a lack of efforts to go public even among startups with strong fundamentals, their future remains uncertain.

In summary, 2023 presents a harsher climate for startups, particularly in their later stages. This market shift could be viewed as a correction, aligning the venture landscape with capital efficiency.

However, the impact on Series B or C startups could be significant, forcing them to explore alternatives like IPOs or consolidation. Currently, even startups with solid fundamentals are not making efforts to go public, leading to concerns about the future of late-stage startups unable to raise more capital.

In the end, the market in 2023 might see more startups failing without the safety net of abundant capital investment.

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