IPO activity in the Bay Area looks like it is picking up again after dropping in the first quarter to about half of last years hot pace.
Two successful IPOs in two weeks isnt enough to declare that the market for new offerings has turned a corner. But if San Jose-based app platform developer Apigees IPO does well next week it will be the busiest period for Wall Street debuts from the region since late January.
This weeks offering from Berkeley-based Aduro Biotech was only the second to establish a unicorn market cap of more than $1 billion this year. The other was Los Altos-based Box when it went public at the end of January.
While Box is much better known and its long-delayed IPO drew far more attention, Aduro has the bigger market cap at the moment. The enterprise software company is valued at about $2.1 billion and the cancer treatment developers valued at more than $2.5 billion.
Throw in Etsys big success this week and LinkedIns $1.5 billion acquisition of Lynda.com last week and it looks like we may finally be seeing some unicorn exits to go with the rash of new unicorns being born.
But it will take a full quarter of such activity to make the first half of 2015 comparable to the first half of last year.
Here are some other stories from this week that you will want to read to keep up with the TechFlash conversation:
— Bubble, bubble, whos worried about a bubble? Marc Andreessen, Dave McClure, Arvind Sodhani and Greg Becker all said this week that there are probably some unicorns who wont fulfill the lofty valuations they enjoy today.
But none of them sounded particularly worried about anything like the dot-com bust that people usually worry about when they talk about whether we are in a tech bubble.
VC celebrity Andreessens comments came in an interview at a Fortune magazine event last week and 500 Startups founding director McClures came in a blog he posted on Medium.
The comments from Intel Capital chief Sodhani and Silicon Valley Bank CEO Becker came in a Churchill Club talk they gave in Santa Clara.
Andreessen said his firm is walking away from plenty of deals over rich valuations but he feels confident of the unicorns it has invested in.
McClure said the valuations of some unicorns is low when compared to the market caps of the private tech companies whose markets they are about to devour.
Sodhani and Becker put the likelihood that we are now in a tech bubble at between 6 and 8 on a 10-point scale where the 1990s is a 10.
We have an office up on Sand Hill Road, and something I saw there recently was like it was came out of 1999, Becker said. There was a tour bus in front of Kleiner Perkins.
— Why Reid Hoffman is a bitcoin believer: The LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock Partners VC said he wasnt interested in the virtual currency until he had a conversation with Wences Casares, the co-founder of Lemon and founder of bitcoin wallet startup Xapos.
“He articulated very strong positive theories about bitcoin and I began to feel empowered, the veteran of PayPal said.
Click here to find out the three arguments Cesares made to win over a skeptical Hoffman.
— Investing in frothy times: Vivek Mehra of August Capital in this weeks TechFlash QA talked about what he is looking for in the data security and infrastructure startups he invests in.
Among the boards that he sits on are San Jose-based RetailNext, the in-store analytics company that raised $125 million this week.
Like Andreessen, Mehra said he and August have walked away from some of the fundings that have been done at very high valuations lately.
Asked about how much longer we can keep floating such value estimates without validation on the public markets, he said, I wish I knew. It concerns me when the private markets are valued higher than the public markets. That’s not going to last for too long, you know. We’ve had this kind of concern before, and it didn’t end well. I just hope we have a little more discipline this time.
Click here to read the rest of the interview.
— The funding bar also rises: Back when we launched TechFlash at the start of 2013, we used to report on every single funding in the Bay Area. Before long, though, funding of less than $20 million stopped attracting much attention from readers and we raised the bar on most of the deals we wrote about.
Maybe this was just an unusual week, but with Jawbone raising $300 million, Slack raising $160 million, RetailNext raising $125 million, Illumio raising $100 million, Docker raising $95 million, LendingHome raising $70 million, Sprig raising $45 million and a lot of other big stories, there were a lot of funding stories we would normally have done that didnt make it into TechFlash — until now.
Here are the fundings that we just couldnt let go unreported, with links to their announcements:
— Appirio: The San Francisco-based cloud services company raised $35 million in Series E funding. Fidelity Investments led the round. Appirio previously raised more than $75 million from General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital and GGV Capital.
— Vlocity: The San Francisco cloud startup raised $42 million in a round led by Salesforce Ventures, with Accenture participating.
— Movidius: The San Mateo-based computational image-processor chip and software maker raised $40 million in a round led by Summit Bridge Capital, which is a joint venture of Atlantic Bridge Capital and WestSummit Capital. Other new investors in the round included Arch Venture Partners, Sunny Optical Technology Group. Returning in the round were AIB Seed Capital Fund, Capital-E, DFJ Esprit and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.
— Skyport Systems: The Mountain View data security company raised $30 million in Series B funding. Index Ventures led the round, joined by Intel Capital and return backer Sutter Hill Ventures.
— Adallom: The Palo Alto-based cloud access security broker raised $30 million. It is the first investment by Hewlett-Packard Ventures and also included Rembrandt Venture Partners as a new investor. Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures also participated.
— Duo Security: The Menlo Park-based cloud-based cybersecurity provider raised $30 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Benchmark, Google Ventures, Radar Partners and True Ventures all participating as existing investors.
Phew. Thats it for this week. Happy weekend reading!
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Cromwell Schubarth is the Senior Technology Reporter at the Silicon Valley Business Journal.