Indian Institute of Foreign Trade: Tradewinds 2018

Trade Winds

National Finance Summit

Startup valuations: A reality or a work of fiction

Unicorn is a popular term that's used to describe tech startups worth $1 billion. But there are many of these proliferating right, left and center and are abundant in Silicon Valley. As of January 2016, there were 229 unicorns across all tech sectors, with $ 175 billion in funding and $ 1.3 trillion valuation; there were 112 in mobile Internet alone. There are so many companies with sky-high valuations of $10 billion or more that the industry has come up with a whole new name to describe them. Bloomberg Business has christened these companies Decacorns. Of the 112, there's a growing slew of decacorns including Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest, Snapchat, Uber, Flipkart. Uber's latest funding round values it at around $51 billion. Sitting behind the valuations is often a complex structure of investor guarantees and multiple share classes that disguises the real value of common shares. How investors and founders derive those enormous valuations through some fuzzy math is a question on everyone’s mind. Disruptive or not, is there something that their backers are seeing that those in the rational investing world, they who assess companies on the present value of their future earnings, aren’t. Aren’t these numbers too huge for the companies who haven’t even started generating profits? 

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade: Tradewinds 2017