Will the latest selloff finally shake up how investors value startups?

Well, here we are.

The bad things are still happening: The U.S. stock market opened in the red this morning, with broad indices losing ground (the S&P 500 is off 2.3%) and the tech-heavy Nasdaq taking even more punishment (off 2.7%).


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Closer to home for startups are cloud stocks, a collection of companies that sell software along modern lines — read: SaaS via public cloud. They’re taking even heavier blows, with one key index off 3.33% at the moment I write this to you.

But that damage is modest compared to what is going on in the decentralized world, with major cryptos falling sharply, again, adding to their seven-day losses. A quick (rounded) update on the red ink:

  • Bitcoin: -3% last 24 hours, off 20% in the last week
  • Ether: -7% last 24 hours, off 30% in the last week
  • Cardano: -7% last 24 hours, off 32% in the last week
  • Sol: -11% last 24 hours, -39% in the last week

That screaming sound you hear in the background is every trader who was holding leveraged longs on decentralized assets. If you bought the last dip, you just got punched. If you bought the dip with extra hot sauce, you took an even greater loss. (I don’t mean to make light here; if you are seriously taking hits, care for yourself, and remember that all money is an invention.)

The result of the carnage is that late-stage valuations are starting to stutter. The Wall Street Journal interviewed Mary D’Onofrio of Bessemer Venture Partners — a regular here on The Exchange — about the selloff last week, before today’s added pain. She said the following:

The public market reset is affecting how we think about our private-market entry prices for VC deals.

D’Onofrio is a growth-stage investor, so her notes here carry quite a lot of weight. More simply, the translation from public market pullback to private market reset is already underway, but on enough of a time delay that the earlier stages of startup investment are unlikely to feel it for a while yet.