Entrepreneurs Take The Upper Hand In 2Q Venture Deal Making

Pre-money valuations were higher. Up rounds greatly outnumbered down rounds. And deals with tranches and participating preferred stock were less common.

The second quarter was a good time to be an entrepreneur.

Companies appeared to have more negotiating leverage during the period, according to a study from the law firm Cooley.

The firm said it handled 82 transactions representing investments of more than $1.2 billion over the three months.

Here is what it found in a report issued Tuesday:

  • 82% of deals were up rounds, the highest percentage since 2006.
  • Pre-money valuations rose across all deal stages, but most notably Series A, B and D. The Series A median valuation climbed to $11 million, from $6 million in the first quarter. The Series B median rose to $40 million, compared to $31 million in the first quarter, and the median for Series D and later stage deals swelled to $140 million. It was $110 million in the previous quarter.
  • Just 15% of deals had built in tranches, down from 22% in the first quarter. Twenty-four percent of deals had them in the fourth quarter of last year.
  • A even greater drop took place in deals with participating preferred shares. Thirty-two percent of deals had these provisions compared with 51% in the first quarter.

Two other points are worth mentioning from the Cooley Venture Financing Report:

  • The percentage of deals with recapitalizations spiked to 12%, double the 6% of the first quarter.
  • A rise also took place in the use of liquidation preferences greater than 1x in Series A and C deals.

Earlier this month, The MoneyTree Report found that VCs invested $7 billion in 898 deals during the quarter, a 17% increase in dollars and an 11% increase in deals over the first quarter.

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