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Fenwick Releases 2016 Survey of Unicorn Financings

Valuation Metrics Decline in 2016

Mountain View, CA (January 27, 2017) – Fenwick & West LLP, one of the nation’s premier law firms providing comprehensive legal services to high technology and life sciences clients, today announced the results of its third survey of the terms of US-based venture-backed unicorn financings.

The survey analyzed the terms of 31 unicorn financings that closed in the twelve months ended December 31, 2016.

“The most notable finding in the survey was that all three valuation metrics declined in 2016. The percentage of financings that were up rounds declined from 97% in 2015 to 75% in 2016, while flat rounds increased from 0% to 21% and down rounds were essentially unchanged at 2% and 4%, respectively. Additionally, the average increase in unicorn valuation from the prior financing round decreased from 162% in 2015 to 83% in 2016, and the median increase in valuation declined from 92% in 2015 to 30% in 2016,” said Barry Kramer, co-author of the survey and a partner at Fenwick & West.

There was also a decline in the number of US-based, venture-backed unicorn financings, from 62 in 2015 to 31 in 2016.

“The net result is an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand both valuation metrics and the number of financings have declined, potentially signaling difficult times ahead for unicorns that plan to raise money in 2017. On the other hand, venture capital fundraising in 2016 was very strong, Nasdaq had a good year and large technology companies have substantial cash reserves and high value stock with which to make acquisitions. So the conclusion seems to be that the financial resources are available for promising unicorns seeking funding, but it might take a continued moderation in valuations to entice investors," concluded Mr. Kramer.

Complete results of this most recent unicorn survey are posted on Fenwick & West's website at www.fenwick.com/unicornsurvey3. The first and second surveys are available at www.fenwick.com/unicornsurvey and www.fenwick.com/unicornsurvey2.

About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West LLP provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies – at every stage of their lifecycle – and the investors that partner with them. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions on issues ranging from venture capital, public offerings, joint ventures, M&A and strategic relationships, to intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, taxation, antitrust, and employment and labor law. For more than four decades, Fenwick has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders. For more information, please visit fenwick.com.​

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