Wheels of Venture Keep Turning Despite Uncertainty

As we enter the final stretch of 2019, the global economic outlook is cloudy.

Multiple uncertainties, including the intensifying trade war and conflicting economic indicators, have put investors and policymakers on edge. Trying to get ahead of a broader slowdown, central banks are cutting interest rates.

Private markets remain buoyant. After a banner fundraising year in 2018, VC dry powder is close to historic highs and PE fundraising is now having its own record year. A diverse cast of investors, from VCs to large asset managers, is participating in massive late-stage rounds, contributing to net new Unicorn creation.

The United States has dominated exits this year, with total US Unicorn exit value this year now standing at around $215 billion. Unicorns that have gone public have generally performed well, with a couple of high-profile exceptions. This year, public markets appear to reward unit economics more than growth-at-all-costs. Also, disruptive new routes to liquidity have entered the conversation, such as direct listings and secondary transactions.

Despite jitters created by the WeWork saga, fear of a global economic slowdown, and rising political uncertainty, the venture ecosystem remains robust — with ample private capital stockpiled for years to come.

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