What valuations are founders asking for when they raise their Series A? Since May 2018 when we started tracking this data, we’ve had conversations with 576 companies about their Series A rounds. Figures below like revenue, valuation, and round size are medians from conversations with founders. Remember the valuations and revenue multiples presented aren’t necessarily what the founders got, but rather it’s what they asked for when talking to VC like us. Data is presented since May 2018 to today (table to the left) and for 2019 only (table to the right).
Software. We’re generalists, but software is our core focus; 374 of the companies we talked to were SaaS. Since May 2018, the median revenue run rate was $3mm, the median round was $5mm, and the median pre-money valuation the founder was asking was ~$23mm. Multiples requested by quarter are below; the multiple has come steadily down and is now 6.74x.
Other Sectors. The multiples for other industries are also presented. However, they should be looked at on an annual basis only because we haven’t talked to enough companies during a quarter to make concrete observations. For instance, we spoke with 6 marketplaces last quarter and on median they asked for 20x revenue. That’s not a large enough sample size in our view. However if you look at the table for all of 2019, we spoke to 36 marketplaces and their median ask was 12x revenue; the data for all of 2019 is representative since it’s from a large enough sample size, but keep in mind it’s for the entire year, not the latest quarter, so you can’t observe trends.
Your approach. Don’t be surprised or offended if a VC pushes back hard on the ask. It’s ok to make a strong, but be ready to compromise. Also recognize that asking for a higher valuation will lengthen the time you’re out fundraising; the higher your valuation, the fewer VC that will be a fit (valuation matters to most).
Our advice to all founders: fundraising is hard and distracting, so make it easier on yourself by being reasonable with the ask. Remember, you’re partnering with an investor who is going to be with you for the next few years, not selling a car to a stranger you’ll never see again; treat the process like you’re entering a partnership and you’ll find the optimal investor and outcome sooner.
Visit us at blossomstreetventures.com and email us directly with Series A or B opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org. We invest $1mm to $1.5mm in growth rounds, inside rounds, cap table restructurings, note clean outs, and other ‘special situations’ all over the US & Canada.