Seed Stage Slaughter
American Express just hosted their first ever Open Forum hackathon at General Assembly and the company has been invested and partnered with a number of New York startups this year. Now American Express has announced an initiative to invest $100 million in early startups to “facilitate the company’s transition to digital,” which seems like a fancy way of saying they want to be in on the smart money.
At the beginning of August, Betabeat began talking about a coming crunch for seed stage companies in New York. We believe that the bubble in early stage financing had peaked, and that in the coming months, many young startups would find it hard to raise follow-on cash.
At the time, local investors like Chris Dixon and Shai Goldman argued that this wasn’t some dire turn of events, but simply the natural cycle of venture capital funding playing out. But the drumbeat of seed stage slaughter now seems to have made its way to the mainstream press.
The Wall Street Journal ran a story yesterday, “Web Startups Hit Cash Crunch,” which claimed that valuations for these early stage companies had fallen by as much as half in recent months and the venture capital funding was at an all time low. AngelList’s Naval Ravikant said that startup financing is getting weaker by the week and that the survival rate for young companies is dropping fast.
But new data from CB Insights, a venture capital database here in New York, disputes that outlook. Their quarterly report shows a record number of seed stage deals over the last quarter and a steady growth in overall venture deal flow and funding since 2009.
Lerer Ventures is a seed stage venture capital fund based in New York. They invest in founders at the earliest stages of a startup’s life. Everyone at the fund starts and runs companies for a living. Lerer Ventures is where they invest in their peers.
The firm Read More
Betabeat is looking to find the best young startups in New York for a new web series we’re producing called Elevator Pitch, which is being sponsored by FedEx.
The premise is simple: we’ll profile a group of great startups and give each of them a chance to sit down and pitch Lerer Ventures.
There are Read More
A little over two months ago Betabeat weighed in on the state of NY Angels, a group that gained a lot of visibility and respect for backing tech projects during the dark years following the dot-com bust. Every so often a media outlet will cover a NY Angels event or interview one of their executives. The latest is from Xconomy, which is ramping up its coverage of the local tech scene.
Xconomy’s Arlene Weintraub sat down NY Angels vice chairman Brian Cohen. When we last spoke with Cohen, we asked why the group’s portfolio, which has its own page on the website, didn’t show any investments after 2009. “We are building a new website, so check back in 60 days,” Mr. Cohen told us.
Well, it’s been 100 days, and the site looks exactly the same.