Startup valuations remain strong, but ‘down rounds’ increase to 28% of all VC deals

upanddownIt was a bit of a mixed message in the latest Entrepreneurs Report from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, as so-called “down rounds” increased at the same time that startup valuations in some categories went even higher.

First, on valuations.

The median pre-money valuations increased for series A and later-stage funding deals. For the fourth quarter, the last period tracked in the report, valuations for series C deals came in at a whopping $120 million. That compared to $89 million in the previous quarter, and $75.8 million for the same period in 2011.

Series A deals also increased to $7.6 million — up from $5.8 million in the previous quarter but down compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 when the median pre-money valuation came in at $8 million.

Median pre-money valuations of Series B deals, meanwhile, fell on a quarter-by-quarter basis to $27.5 million. But they were more than double the amount in the fourth quarter of 2011.

In other words, it’s a pretty good time to raise money if you’re an entrepreneur.

But one trend to watch: Down-rounds, investments in which valuations are set at a lower valuation in a subsequent round, are creeping up. In the first quarter, down rounds represented 28 percent of all deals, which was double the amount compared to the fourth quarter. Up rounds, meanwhile, represented 59 percent of all financing deals during the first quarter. That was down from 76 percent in the previous quarter.

The report was compiled by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and included information from transactions in which the law firm represented either the company or one of the investors.

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