Venture capital firms racked up some big exits and big IPOs in the first quarter of 2012—and that is just the appetizer. It was the asset class’s best quarter for IPOs since the beginning of 2007.
Nineteen VC-backed companies went public in the first quarter of 2012, according to data compiled by the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters, and another 86 M&A deals for VC-backed companies were reported in a robust quarter on the exit front. Among highlights were ExactTarget’s $161 million IPO, Merrimack Pharma making for a life sciences success story, and Groupon—beset with more reporting woes—snapping up another six companies. Here are the some of the biggest transactions to be announced or closed and the top IPOs.
Late last month, ExactTarget priced its IPO at $19 each, raising $161.5 million, and since then, it has traded well—boosting up to $26 per share before Monday morning’s open. The email marketing software firm has already generated some impressive returns for VCs, including Greenspring Associates, Scale Venture Partners, Montagu Newhall Associates and Insight Venture Partners, which invested nearly $200 million across several rounds.
Waait…this was a 2011 IPO. Well, yes. But, Groupon has been on a roll—well, maybe just in terms of M&A. The biggest VC-backed company to not issue a secondary offering so far snapped up an impressive six startups over 2012’s first quarter (to Google’s zero), including FeeFighters, Uptake, Kima Labs, Hyperpublic and Adku. Let’s just say that while the M&A marks a win for various VCs, hopefully they took cash.
[slide title="MERRIMACK PHARMA"]
So, this life sciences IPO didn’t pop the same way hot Internet stocks make investors swoon. But, nevertheless, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals’s March IPO is still a success story for VCs including TPG-Axon Capital, Jennison Associates and Crocker Ventures. Since consolidation is always afoot in the space, the biotech company may go the way of Avila Therapeutics—a molecular sciences company that, while not among the 19 IPO debuts, still delivered huge numbers for VCs itself.
[slide title="AVILA THERAPEUTICS"]
Avila Therapeutics, the Massachusetts-based molecular therapeutics company, was bought by Celegene Corp. in a $350 million deal. One known partner prior to the deal was Clovis Oncology.
[slide title="KIVA SYSTEMS"]
Here’s a deal that won’t close until the second quarter, but it gave VCs around Bain Capital Ventures and Meakem Becker Venture Capital cause to call the first quarter a great one. Amazon made a big move into the automated warehousing space with Kiva Systems’s buy, a $775 million all-cash deal. [/slideshow]