For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

FLEX by Fenwick is the only service created by an AmLaw 100 firm that provides flexible and cost-effective solutions for interim in-house legal needs to high-growth companies.  MORE >

Fenwick & West handles significant cross-border legal and business issues for a wide range of technology and life sciences who operate internationally..  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

Year after year, Fenwick & West is honored for excellence in the legal profession. Many of our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and our Corporate, Tax, Litigation and Intellectual Property Practice Groups consistently receive top national and international rankings, including:

  • Named Technology Group of the Year by Law360
  • Ranked #1 in the Americas for number of technology deals in 2015 by Mergermarket
  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney


We take sustainability very seriously at Fenwick. Like many of our clients, we are adopting policies that reduce consumption and waste, and improve efficiency. By using technologies developed by a number of our cleantech clients, we are at the forefront of implementing sustainable policies and practices that minimize environmental impact. In fact, Fenwick has earned recognition in several areas as one of the top US law firms for implementing sustainable business practices.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we have a passion for excellence and innovation that mirrors our client base. Our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes—allowing us to deliver best-in-class legal services more effectively.   MORE >

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Silicon Valley Venture Survey - Fourth Quarter 2014

View the full Silicon Valley Venture Survey—Fourth Quarter 2014.



To better understand the effect that the terms and valuations of late stage financings are having on IPOs, we undertook an analysis of the 41 US-based technology companies that went public in 2014-2015 and that had undertaken a venture financing in the prior three years.1

Overview of Results

The highlights of our findings are as follows:

  • At the time of their last venture round, the companies priced their common stock at an average of 67% of the value of their preferred stock. In other words, the companies were implicitly valuing the various preferential terms provided to their late stage investors at 33% of the value of the stock that was sold to such investors.
  • 20% of the IPOs triggered ratchet type IPO protections that resulted in the companies’ late stage investors receiving additional equity as a result of the IPO. However, the additional equity averaged only 3% of a company’s pre-IPO equity, so the effect on the company’s other shareholders was generally not substantial. The issuance of additional equity on account of such IPO protections increased noticeably from 2014 to 2015.
  • 24% of the companies had dual class common stock, which provided some or all of their pre-IPO shareholders with more voting rights than investors who bought shares in the IPO. The use of these rights increased noticeably from 2014 to 2015 and was more common in higher valuation IPOs. For comparison purposes, only 9% of the companies in the S&P 100 have dual class common stock.
  • 22% of the IPOs had major pre-IPO investors purchasing shares in the IPO, 29% had major pre-IPO investors selling shares in the IPO, and 49% had neither. Pre-IPO shareholders typically buy in an IPO because they want to increase their holdings in the company (especially mutual and hedge funds that invest in both private and public companies), to provide the company with additional capital than could otherwise be raised and/or to signal their confidence in the company’s prospects. Pre-IPO shareholders typically sell in an IPO to obtain liquidity and/or to provide additional float for a company’s trading market.
  • 71% of the IPOs were “up rounds” compared to the last financing round, and 29% were “down rounds”. The percentage of up rounds declined from 2014 to 2015.
  • The average per share price increase from the last financing round to the IPO was 94%, and the median increase was 36%. The average increase increased from 2014 to 2015, but the median increase declined during that time frame.

Survey Results

The more detailed results are set forth below.



2014 & 2015

Number of IPOs and Valuation:

Number of IPOs




Average pre-money valuation at time of IPO ($ millions)




Price Change from Last Venture Round to IPO:

Percentage of IPOs that were valued higher than last venture round




Average per share price increase from the last venture round to the IPO




Median per share price increase from the last venture round to the IPO




Common Stock Valuation:

Common stock price as a percentage of preferred stock price at time of last venture round




Dual Class Common Stock (Super Voting):

Percentage of IPOs that had dual class common stock




IPO Ratchet:

Percentage of IPOs in which a ratchet adjustment was triggered




Average percentage of fully-diluted pre-IPO shares issued due to ratchet




Pre-IPO Shareholders Purchasing in IPO:

Percentage of IPOs with major shareholder(s) purchasing in IPO




Average percentage of IPO purchased by such shareholder(s)




Pre-IPO Shareholders Selling in IPO:

Percentage of IPOs with major shareholder(s) selling in IPO




Average percentage of IPO sold by such shareholder(s)




1 We only included companies that had raised financings within the three years prior to their IPO to focus our analysis on venture terms that had been negotiated in the relatively recent past.

View the full Silicon Valley Venture Survey—Fourth Quarter 2014.