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Private Equity Jobs

Blockchain is all the rave in today’s early-stage investing world.  If you are in any way interested in the future of money or accounting or ledgers, it is impossible to avoid a discussion about blockchain.

Given the popularity of blockchain, can you guess which entities are the top 10 venture capital (VC) investors in blockchain?

Would you guess the list includes the big VC companies like Accel, Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark, Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, or Bessemer Venture Partners?

Take your guess now because the top 10 list follows shortly.

The List

Source: Pitchbook

Interestingly, the top blockchain investor in the world is Digital Currency Group.  The VC firm has made an incredible 127 deals according to Pitchbook

In second place is Blockchain Capital at 57 deals.  Surprisingly, there’s a large difference between first and second place.

The other members of the top five include Pantera Capital at 56, Digital Horizon Capital at 38, and Fenbushi Capital at 36.

Places six through 10 belong to Plug and Play Tech Center (32 deals), 500 Startups (31 deals), Andreessen Horowitz (30 deals), NEO Global Capital (27 deals), and Boost VC (25 deals).

Are you surprised by the list?  Curiously, only one of the supposedly top VC firms shows up on the list – Andreessen Horowitz in eighth place.

What are the Biggest Blockchain VC Deals?

With the list established, let’s take a look at the biggest VC blockchain deals.

Can you guess which deals show up on top? 

As before, take your guess now because the list follows.

Source: Pitchbook

The largest blockchain deal ever, according to Pitchbook, is a $300 million investment in October 2018 in Coinbase.  The Series E investment gave the cryptocurrency company a massive $8 billion valuation.

In second place is Bakkt, a fellow cryptocurrency exchange.  A couple months after Coinbase’s $300 million funding round, Bakkt came in with a $183 million funding round. 

In third place is BlackTower, a hedge fund investing entirely in cryptocurrencies and digital assets.  The company announced in October 2018 that it had attracted a $140 million VC investment. 

Rounding out the top five are r3 at $122 million in May 2018 and Circle at $110 million in May 2018.

The other four companies on Pitchbook’s list include a previous investment in Coinbase in August 2017 at $108 million, a $103 million investment in Finova Financial in October 2017, a $101 million investment in Hedera Hashgraph in August 2018, and a $88 million investment in Forgerock in September 2017.


In an interesting review produced by Pitchbook, the top 10 investors in blockchain includes only one of the supposed top VC investing firms.  Overall, the top 10 investors have made a combined 459 deals. 

It’s a wonderful time to be interested in blockchain technology. 

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2018 was lots of things to lots of people.  Some may remember the year as the year America gained back respect from China by addressing its unfair trade practices.  Others may focus on the terrible fires in California.  Others may wish to focus on the positive, such as the amazing PyeongChang Winter Olympics.  Still others may remember 2018 as the year stocks failed to deliver a Santa Claus rally. 

Lots of other things happened in 2018.  One them – a massive year for private equity buyouts – is addressed here. 

If you had to guess which year was the best year for buyouts ever, would you guess 2018 could be on top?  Perhaps 2000, just before the bust? 

Here’s a look at buyout activity since 2008.  On top is this year, 2018, with more than $700 billion in deal activity.  That places 2018 second all-time according to data from private equity data provider Pitchbook, surpassed only by the massive 2007. 

2018 was also the highest deal count ever, with an estimated 4,828 deal counts.  This expansion is certainly kicking on all cylinders (or at least most cylinders).

The Pitchbook report, available here, also has many other interesting tidbits of information.  Let’s see if you can guess how 2018 compares to the past 10 years on the following questions.

First question – How do the multiples experienced in 2018 compare to prior years?  Would you guess deal multiples are the highest they’ve been in the past decade?  Or perhaps you’d guess things have cooled somewhat compared to the recession and recovery years of 2008 to 2014? 

The look follows. 

Fascinatingly, 2018 was fairly good for Equity per EBITDA, debt per EBITDA, and EV per EBITDA, but not the highest since 2008. 

The winner for the highest debt per EBITDA is 2013 at a 7.1x multiple.  The winner for the highest equity per EBITDA is 2017 at 5.8x.  And the overall winner for the highest EV per EBITDA was 2014 with an EV per EBITDA at 12.4x.  Interesting, interesting.

Let’s take a look at one other measure and see how well you know 2018 compared to the past decade.

According to Pitchbook, what percentage of deals would you guess were done in 2018 that had multiples above 10x?  Would you guess 2018 had a higher percentage of deals above 10x than ever before?  Below is the look.

Captivatingly, more deals were priced above 10x in 2018 than ever before.  Incredibly, over 60% of deals in 2018 had valuations over 10x.  The next closest year?  2017 saw about 55% of deals with valuations at or above 10x.



In a fascinating look at private equity deal making and deal values in 2018, the year looks quite favorable to activity in the past decade.  It’s a good time to be employed or be involved in the private equity sector.

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In an almost interesting fashion, Pitchbook, the private equity data provider, is out with a look at the 2018 startup graveyard.  The tally reviews companies that died in the year of 2018.

Before looking at the list, which companies would you guess are on the list?  Does a certain blood-testing company come to mind?  Perhaps one with a female founder who was accused of fraud, along with her ex-boyfriend?  What other companies would you guess went down in flames in 2018?  Here’s the list.

The Top Death of 2018

The following figure has the list of the top company to meet an untimely demise in 2018.  Which company was the worst death of 2018?  Without question, the answer is Theranos.  The blood-testing company saw $9 billion in value disappear out of thin air, as regulatory scrutiny brought down Elizabeth Holmes’ path to billionaire.  Instead of running a darling of the venture capital industry, Miss Holmes is now dealing with the aftermath of alleged fraud.

Along with the $9 billion in valuation went $810 million in venture capital raised funding.  May Theranos’ goals of advanced drug testing live in peace, and potentially be achieved some day.  That day, though, is not 2018.


theranos Source: Pitchbook

The Other Members of the Death List

What other companies show up on Pitchbook’s 2018 startup graveyard list?  As depicted in the following tombstone, eleven other companies show up on the list.

The list includes Rethink Robotics.  The company made robots designed to work alongside humans.  The demand, or perhaps more so the competition, led to the downfall of the technology company.  With its demise went a whopping $291 million in value and $150 million in venture capital raised.  Too bad this Boston-based company failed to make it to see the Red Sox play in the World Series.

Another massive company that breathed its last breath in 2018 was Shyp.  The San Francisco-based company provided on-demand shipping services, a long-held goal for many internet companies.  Before Shyp died, the company had at once reached a valuation of $275 million, with $62 million in venture capital raised.

The fourth member of the top five companies to die in 2018 is Apprenda.  The New York-based company provided software to developers.  With its death went $90 million in paper wealth and $56 million venture capital funding.

The last member of the top five deaths in 2018 is Airwave.  The drone analytics provider failed to generate enough revenue for its services, and with it disappeared $59 million in value and $104 million in venture capital raised.

The other companies on Pitchbook’s list include Primary Data, Caresync, Bluesmart, Lantern, Raden, Fieldbook, and Alta.

startupgraveyard Source: Pitchbook

How Much Money Went Down the Tube?

With the list of 12 companies that went down the tube now established, one might ask – How much money was actually lost with the deaths of these companies?  The answer: $1.4 billion in venture capital funding.  That’s a massive amount, although not nearly enough to discourage venture capital investors from looking for the next big thing.


In a fascinating look at the startup companies that died in 2018, on top of the list of most prominent deaths is Theranos.  The company once reached a valuation of $9 billion before going belly-up in early 2018.  Other top companies to end up in the 2018 trash bin include Rethink Robotics, Shyp, Apprenda, and Airware.  May they rest in peace this Halloween.

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Where is Financial Employment Booming?

September 17, 2018

Every now and then we review how the financial sector is doing.  Before looking, which U.S. state would you guess is #1 for financial sector employment?  Would you guess New York – the home of Wall Street?  Perhaps Chicago (Illinois), with its heavy focus on insurance services?  What about California, with its heavy focus on […]

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Which Universities Produce the Most Venture Capital-Backed Companies?

September 3, 2018

Private equity data provider Pitchbook is out with their annual report on which universities produce the most venture capital (VC)-backed companies?  Before looking, which universities would you guess show up on the list? Would you guess Ivy League schools, with their highly ambitious, academically fresh graduates?  Perhaps you’d guess universities in places where the state […]

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Will VC Values Continue to Explode Through 2018?

May 28, 2018

Happy Memorial Day!  Is there any better way to celebrate the day than to postulate on where venture capital (VC) valuations are heading  for the remainder of 2018?  Well, yes there is, but for the moment let’s think about valuations. Where Valuations Have Been First, here’s a look at Pitchbook’s recently released first quarter valuation […]

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How Do the Bay Area’s Returns Vary By City?

April 3, 2018

Pitchbook, the private equity and venture capital data provider is out with a fascinating look at venture capital returns and venture investments by city within the Bay area (broader San Francisco area). Before looking at the map of amount of funds investment and the associated returns, take a guess at which cities you think would […]

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What are the Top 25 Private Equity Firms and How Much Did They Raise Recently?

February 19, 2018

Private Equity International is out with their annual PEI300 report, which details the top 300 private equity firms by amount raised.  Before looking, which companies would you guess would be on top? The Broader View Before taking a look at the list of the top 25 private equity firms, how much would you guess the […]

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Are Unicorns Frequently Overvalued?

February 6, 2018

A couple of professors out of Stanford University and the University of British Columbia are out with a new, fresh look at the intricacies of venture capital valuations (Squaring Venture Capital Valuations with Reality, National Bureau of Economic Research Paper #23895).  Their topic is unicorn valuations, and specifically whether so-called unicorn valuations are frequently overvalued.  […]

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The 2017 Startup Graveyard

January 23, 2018

Pitchbook  is out with a fascinating look at the so-called 2017 “startup graveyard”.  There are 11 companies on Pitchbook’s list. Let’s take a look. The Startup Graveyard On top of Pitchbook’s list of notable 2017 failures is Jawbone.  Jawbone manufactured speakers and wearable technology, and at one point had a valuation of $1.5 billion, with […]

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