Fenwick & West LLP: Venture Capital Survey Silicon Valley First Quarter 2013

Barry Kramer and Michael Patrick of Fenwick & West LLP


We analyzed the terms of venture financings for 118 companies headquartered in Silicon Valley that reported raising money in the first quarter of 2013.

Overview of Fenwick & West Results

Although a healthy 68% of Silicon Valley financings in 1Q13 were up rounds, both the average and median percentage change in share price declined noticeably from 4Q12. In short, the up rounds were “up” by less. For example, 43% of up rounds in 4Q12 were up by more than 100%, while only 23% of up rounds in 1Q13 were up by more than 100%. Here are the more detailed results:

  • Up rounds exceeded down rounds in 1Q13, 68% to 11%, with 21% of rounds flat. This was a slight decline from 4Q12 when up rounds outpaced down rounds 71% to 8%, with 21% of rounds flat.
  • The Fenwick & West Venture Capital BarometerTM showed an average price increase of 57% in 1Q13, a healthy result but a decline from the 85% recorded in 4Q12.
  • The median price increase of financings in 1Q13 was 14%, a significant decline from the 41% recorded in 4Q12.
  • The results by industry are set forth below. In general the internet/digital media and software industries lead, with hardware and cleantech following, and life science trailing significantly.

Overview of Other Industry Data

Third party reports on the first quarter of 2013 showed weakness in the venture environment.

  • The amount of venture investment was the lowest quarterly amount since 3Q10.
  • The number of IPOs was the second lowest quarterly amount since 4Q09.
  • The number of venture-backed companies acquired was the lowest since 2Q09, and the amount paid in acquisitions was the lowest amount since at least 4Q09.
  • Although the dollar amount of VC fundraising was up from 4Q12, the number of funds raising money was the lowest since 3Q03.

There were certainly positive signs as well, with VC sentiment improving, angel investing strong, Nasdaq up and, as mentioned above, venture valuations reasonably healthy, but the overall venture environment is currently tough.

Venture Capital Investment

Dow Jones VentureSource (“VentureSource”) reported that venture capitalists (including corporation affiliated venture groups) invested $6.4 billion in 752 financings in the U.S. in 1Q13, a 3% decline in dollars but a 3% increase in deals from the $6.6 billion invested in 733 financings in 4Q12 (as reported in January 2013). This was the lowest dollar amount invested since 3Q10.

The PWC/NVCA MoneyTreeTM Report based on data from Thomson Reuters (the “Money Tree Report”) reported $5.9 billion invested in 863 deals in 1Q13, an 8% decline in dollars and an 11% decline in deals from the $6.4 billion invested in 968 deals in 4Q12 (as reported in January 2013).

The MoneyTree Report also reported that despite the overall investment decline, investment in software companies was up 8% to $2.3 billion in 1Q13, while investment in internet companies, life science and cleantech all declined. It also reported that venture capital investment in first time financings was down 20% in 1Q13, with investment in first time life science financings falling to the lowest amount since 3Q96.

IPO Activity

Dow Jones reported that 9 U.S. venture backed companies went public in 1Q13 and raised $643 million, compared to 8 IPOs raising $1.2 billion in 4Q12. Similarly, Thomson Reuters and the NVCA (“Thomson/NVCA”) reported 8 IPOs raising $672 million in 1Q13, which was a 52% decline in the amount raised and a flat number of deals from 4Q12. This was the second lowest number of IPOs in a quarter since 4Q09. Six of the IPOs were IT and all were for U.S. based companies.

Merger & Acquisition Activity

Dow Jones reported that acquisitions (including buyouts) of U.S. venture backed companies totaled $4.9 billion in 94 deals in 1Q13, a 47% decline in dollars and a 17% decline in deals from 4Q12 (as reported in January 2013).

Similarly Thomson/NVCA reported only 77 acquisitions in 1Q13, a 19% decline from the 95 reported in 4Q12 (as reported in January 2013). This was the lowest quarterly number of acquisitions since 2Q09.

Venture Capital Fundraising

Thomson/NVCA reported that 35 U.S. venture capital funds raised $4.1 billion in 1Q13, a 17% decline in the number of funds but a 25% increase in dollars raised compared to the 42 funds that raised $3.3 billion in 4Q12 (as reported in January 2013).

This was the lowest number of funds raising money since 3Q03, and the five new funds that raised money was the lowest number since 4Q06. Over half of the total amount raised ($2.2 billion) was raised by just four funds.

Similarly, Dow Jones reported $4.2 billion raised in 1Q13, the lowest first quarter total since 2009.

More money was invested in venture backed companies than was raised by venture capitalists for the fifth year in a row. Although 2012 data was incomplete, the excess aggregated $22 billion during the 2008-11 time frame, and while individuals and corporate investment likely made up part of the difference, it was unlikely to have made up a significant amount. (Venture Capital Journal, JoAnne Glasner, January 14, 2013).

It also appears that more hedge funds and private equity investors are doing later stage “venture” deals, which provides additional capital, but also creates more competition for venture capitalists (VentureWire, Shira Ovide and Pui-Wing Tam, March 7, 2013). The interest of these alternative investors is likely driven by the increased time to IPO, and increased amount being raised prior to IPO, by some of the most promising venture-backed companies. For example, the median time from initial equity to IPO increased to 9.4 years in 1Q13, and the median amount raised increased to $105 million, both the highest amounts in at least eight years (VentureSource).

Angels and Accelerators

Three of the six largest venture capital investors in 1Q13 (by number of deals) were seed focused funds (500 Startups, Y Combinator, First Round Capital) (VentureSource). For a discussion of trends in seed financing see our 2012 Seed Survey at

Crowd Funding

Crowd funding is growing substantially, despite regulatory delays in implementing some of the related provisions of the JOBS Act. Massolution reports that $1.6 billion was raised in North America by crowd funding in 2012, up 81% from 2011. And the recent partnership between AngelList and Second Market (described below) bears watching. There are even indications that seed funds might use crowd funding to raise money for their funds (Venture Wire, Chernova and Kolodny, April 10, 2013).

Secondary Markets

Although the Facebook IPO put a significant dent in the volume of trading on secondary market exchanges, the industry has been active.

Nasdaq and SharesPost have recently announced a joint venture, the Nasdaq Private Market, to facilitate the buying and selling of private company shares, and to provide liquidity to early investors, founders and employees.

And AngelList and Second Market have partnered to facilitate investing in early stage companies, by allowing investors to pool their investment through Second Market, so that they can each invest relatively small amounts of money into companies listed on AngelList.

Venture Capital Return

Cambridge Associates reported that the value of its venture capital index increased by 1.15% in 4Q12 (1Q13 information has not been publicly released) compared to -3.10% for Nasdaq. For longer time frames, the venture capital index surpassed Nasdaq for the 3 and 5 year period, and 15 years and longer, but trailed for the 1 and 10 year periods.

Venture Capital Sentiment

The Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists Confidence Index® by Professor Mark Cannice at the University of San Francisco reported that the confidence level of Silicon Valley venture capitalists was 3.73 on a 5 point scale in 1Q13, an increase from 3.63 in 4Q12 and the third consecutive quarterly increase in the index. Reasons given for the increase were a stabilizing macro environment, continued easy money, a reduction in “frothiness” in internet/digital media, and the growth of cloud based, web centric software innovations.


Nasdaq increased 5.7% in 1Q13, and has increased 5.2% in 2Q13 through May 13, 2013.

Notes on Methodology.

When interpreting the Barometer results please bear in mind that the results reflect the average price increase of companies raising money in a given quarter compared to their prior round of financing, which was in general 12 to 18 months prior. Given that venture capitalists (and their investors) generally look for at least a 20% IRR to justify the risk that they are taking, and that by definition we are not taking into account those companies that were unable to raise a new financing (and that likely com resulted in a loss to investors), a Barometer increase in the 40% range should be considered normal.

When comparing current period results to prior period results based on third party data (e.g., amounts invested by venture capitalists, amount of M&A proceeds, etc.), we use the prior period results initially published by the third party for the period, not the results that have been updated with additional information over time, to provide better comparability with the current period published results. For example, when comparing fourth quarter results to third quarter results, we use the initially published third quarter results, typically provided in October, not the updated results that are typically Anti-Dilution Provisions provided in January. Such situations are set forth in our report with a parenthetical as to the date the information was initially reported.


The preparation of the information contained herein involves assumptions, compilations and analysis, and there can be no assurance that the information provided herein is error-free. Neither Fenwick & West LLP nor any of its partners, associates, staff or agents shall have any liability for any information contained herein, including any errors or incompleteness. The contents of this report are not intended, and should not be considered, as legal advice or opinion.

Barry J. Kramer, Partner, Corporate Group

Mr. Kramer represents a wide range of technology and life science companies, from privately held start-ups to publicly traded companies, as well as prominent venture capital funds. Mr. Kramer has spoken numerous times on various business and legal topics, including teaching an accredited course at UCSF entitled "A Scientist's Guide to Intellectual Property" and speaking at various PLI programs related to venture investing. He is the author of a quarterly venture capital survey, as well as a firm brochure on technology licensing. Mr. Kramer is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Maryland. His emphasis is on: Start-Up Issues, Venture Capital Financings, Mergers and Acquisitions, Initial Public Offerings, Joint Ventures and Technology Licensing.

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Michael J. Patrick, Partner, Corporate Group

Mr. Patrick's practice focuses on venture capital financings representing both companies and venture capital firms, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate representation for a broad array of high technology companies in the information technology, life science and medical device industries. Mr. Patrick also has extensive experience in dispute resolution and litigation for technology companies. Mr. Patrick is the author of "Managing Corporate Electronic Information: A Risk Manager's Guide" (1995) and the co-author of Fenwick & West's quarterly venture financing terms survey. His emphasis is on: Venture finance and fund formation, Mergers and acquisitions and General corporate representation.

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Fenwick & West LLP

Fenwick & West LLP ( is a national law firm that provides comprehensive legal services to technology and life sciences clients of national and international prominence. We have approximately 300 attorneys, with offices in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle and Boise.

For additional information about this report please contact Barry Kramer at 650-335-7278; or Michael Patrick at 650-335-7273; at Fenwick & West. The contents of this report are not intended, and should not be considered, as legal advice or opinion.

Contact/Sign-up Information

For additional information about this report please contact Barry Kramer at 650-335-7278; or Michael Patrick at 650-335-7273; at Fenwick & West.

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Material in this work is for general educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. For legal advice, please consult your personal lawyer or other appropriate professional. Reproduced with permission from Fenwick & West LLP. © 2013 Fenwick & West LLP.