Are we seeing evidence of a startup slowdown?

On one hand, we’re heading into Y Combinator Demo Day week, which means that we’re about to sit back and watch a few hundred companies make their pitch to investors and the larger startup world.

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On the other, the event comes just days after well-known Y Combinator graduate Instacart decided it needed to trim its valuation to remain competitive for talent.

But the late-stage angst that we’ve explored recently is merely a facet of the total startup market, which includes both early fundings — angel, seed, etc. — and rounds like Series As and Bs. We can’t just say that late-stage startups are waking up to a changed market and call it a day. We need to understand the full picture.

PitchBook dropped a report this morning looking at the market trends that helped drive the 2021 venture capital boom. Recall that last year was a record for venture activity in a host of geographies, with private-market capital flowing into startups at a pace that we might not see for years to come.

The PitchBook report hints that there is a slowdown afoot in total venture capital activity, with an included chart showing monthly activity in the United States slipping from its late-2021 highs. But we wanted to know more, so we dug into the data.

Based on our look at the raw figures and what we’re hearing, we’re in what could be the early stages of a venture slowdown. Just how material the period of reduced investor activity will prove to be is the real question of the day.

Party on

Not that you would really guess that things are changing, looking at early-stage valuations. This piece of information from startup founder and investor Ryan Hoover caught our eye over the weekend: