Coronavirus

Coronavirus updates (March 30-April 5): Coronavirus effects on private markets

April 5, 2020

Waiting area chairs are covered in plastic wrap at Union Station in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images News)

PitchBook has been providing ongoing coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its effects on different areas of the private markets and the broader economy:

Latest news on the coronavirus

In case you missed it:

Best-funded startups in Q1 are boosted and battered by the coronavirus

Venture capitalists hammered out a stream of mega-funding rounds in the first quarter, handing out some of the last big checks before the world economy ground to a standstill.

In the first three months of 2020, some 106 companies closed deals of $100 million or more, according to PitchBook data, on par with the first quarters of 2018 and 2019. Nearly half of the top 25 deals were announced in March, when the Bay Area and other key tech hubs came under lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic; however, fundraising negotiations for these deals likely preceded their announcements by weeks or months.

Many of the largest rounds went to companies that clearly benefit from a world that is, in large part, sheltering in place. Others are already facing setbacks from widespread business closures, a condition that may not return to normal for months and whose costly after-effects are hard to predict. —James Thorne, 5:03 p.m. PDT

VC wins, PE loses out on $350B US stimulus package

After lobbying efforts by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it appears that venture capital-backed companies will be eligible for $350 billion in loans as part of the $2 trillion US stimulus package. But middle-market companies with private equity owners are out of luck, at least for now.

Under the Paycheck Protection Program included in the stimulus package, companies with less than 500 employees will qualify for forgivable loans of up to $10 million if they keep their employees on the payroll. The program originally included an affiliation rule that counts all of a private equity or VC firm's employees at their respective portfolio companies toward that 500 figure, making most of them ineligible. —Adam Lewis, 5:00 p.m. PDT

Morningstar forecasts long-term economic impact of coronavirus to be less than 2008 recession

In a new report, analysts from PitchBook parent company Morningstar see some cause for optimism with respect to the long-term economic effects of the pandemic. Based on the assumptions that social distance measures will be lifted in the summer and that additional waves of the virus will not be as disruptive, they anticipate that the scope of the shutdown to disrupt the economy is likely overrated. —Preston Caldwell and Karen Andersen, CFA, April 1

Coronavirus effects on startups

Fintech startups set to soar as pandemic drives consumers online

As the coronavirus outbreak tears through the global economy, some fintech startups may see long-term benefits as consumers turn to digital-only financial services in an age of social distancing.

A newly released report by venture firm Finch Capital says that, despite short-term pain, the pandemic will ultimately drive adoption, creating a virtuous cycle for fintech companies through the COVID-19 crisis. —Andrew Woodman, 6:07 p.m. PDT, April 2

Germany unleashes $2.2B boost for startups

The German government has launched a support package worth €2 billion (about $2.2 billion) for startups affected by the coronavirus. The state will work through venture capital firms that will distribute the funds to the struggling businesses. It will also enable the umbrella funds KfW Capital and the European Investment Fund to use public capital to replace money withdrawn by other investment funds. —Leah Hodgson, 2:15 p.m. PDT, April 2

As pandemic provides a wake-up call, smokers turn to startups to quit

The novel coronavirus can take a deadly turn when it enters the lungs, causing pneumonia or other potentially life-threatening complications. That's particularly concerning for the more than 1 billion smokers worldwide, who face an increased risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization. For many, the crisis is serving as a wake-up call for many to pay better attention to their health.

Smoking cessation startups are among the healthcare companies seeing their business improve since the coronavirus outbreak started. Like telemedicine and mental health startups, this cohort finds itself operating at a critical moment, with demand spiking while the crisis grinds other sectors of the economy to a halt. —Eliza Haverstock, 8:10 p.m. PDT, March 31

OneWeb cites coronavirus in collapse

Less than two weeks after rumors of a possible bankruptcy, satellite startup OneWeb has filed for Chapter 11 restructuring as it seeks to sell the business. The company, which was building a global broadband network that would compete with SpaceX's Starlink system and Amazon's Project Kuiper, blamed the coronavirus pandemic for its inability to raise additional funding.

OneWeb had raised more than $4 billion from investors including SoftBank, Coca-Cola, Virgin and Qualcomm Ventures. In a statement, OneWeb said it was reducing its staff as it seeks a buyer. —Andrew Woodman, 10:26 a.m. PDT, March 30

Coronavirus effects on venture capital

China's VC industry bounces back after coronavirus-induced winter

Dealmaking in China is mounting a comeback following a slowdown prompted by the coronavirus outbreak.Chinese firms recorded 66 venture capital deals for the week ended March 28, the most of any week in 2020 and just below figures from the same time last year.

It's a sign that the VC industry in the rest of the world could also mount a quick recovery from travel restrictions and other measures that have made investing more challenging. In the first six weeks of the year, deal volume and capital raised in China had fallen more than 60% compared with the same period last year, according to PitchBook data. But any optimism should be tempered with a note of caution. —James Thorne, 6:11 p.m. PDT, April 2

How COVID-19 will impact US venture

Rising from the depths of the financial crisis, the US venture capital industry steadily evolved throughout the 2010s, culminating in recent record-breaking years. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the entire world in just a few short months, US venture is changing again.

As part of our ongoing research coverage of COVID-19, the latest note from our venture analysts breaks down the pandemic's many ramifications for the US venture ecosystem. —James Gelfer, Cameron Stanfill, Kyle Stanford, Joshua Chao and Van Le, 6:13 p.m. PDT, March 31

Coronavirus effects on private equity

EQT, Bridgepoint postpone sales amid upheaval

The coronavirus has claimed two more private equity exits. EQT has decided to hold on to enterprise software provider IFS, while Bridgepoint is delaying its planned sale of agricultural chemical business Rovensa, both according to Bloomberg.

EQT had reportedly received bids for IFS valuing the Swedish business at more than €3 billion (about $3.3 billion), but the firm is now believed to be deferring the sale until the markets pick back up. EQT has backed the business since 2015.

Bridgepoint, meanwhile, has reportedly pushed back the sale of Rovensa to at least May after potential suitors decided against submitting final offers for the Portuguese business due to the deterioration of the market. Previous reports suggested that PAI Partners, Pamplona Capital Management and Partners Group were in talks for a potential €1 billion deal. Bridgepoint bought Rovensa for €456 million in 2016. —Leah Hodgson, 5:50 p.m. PDT, April 1

How COVID-19 is affecting the US PE market

As the coronavirus epidemic reshapes the global economy, it's also shifting the focus in certain areas of the market. For private equity, which is in many ways a bet on future economic growth, that means first looking to secure current investments before sourcing new deals.

The latest research note from our PE analysts details how the outbreak is transforming the market and how the private equity industry is likely to respond as it continues. —Dylan Cox, Wylie Fernyhough and Zane Carmean, March 30

Private equity fundraising totals sure to tumble due to the coronavirus

Private equity fundraising in the US surged over the past decade, with annual figures climbing from less than $60 billion in 2010 to a record $301 billion in 2019.

But now that the coronavirus outbreak has reduced travel, dealmaking has slowed, and limited partners have begun to worry about the economy, the fundraising market could be in line for its first serious decline since the global financial crisis. —Adam Lewis, 11:06 a.m., March 31

Economic impact of the coronavirus

US unemployment claims hit 10 million in two weeks

As coronavirus cases in the US escalate sharply, so too have jobless claims: An unprecedented 6.65 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week that ended March 28, according to figures released by the US Labor Department on Thursday. The jobless claims, which provide federal financial assistance for laid-off workers, more than doubled compared to the previous week's then-record of about 3.31 million claims. In total, more than 10 million people have applied for claims since mid-March. —Eliza Haverstock, 8:56 a.m. PDT, April 2

Wall Street hit with worst quarterly loss since 1987

US stocks ended the day lower, handing Wall Street its biggest quarterly loss overall since 1987, reflecting prolonged anxiety about the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic. The blue-chip S&P 500 closed down 1.6% at 2,584.59, or a loss of 20% for the first three months of the year. For the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which fell 1.8% on Tuesday, the quarter marked its worst Q1 on record, down 23%. Energy markets suffered even bigger losses, with oil closing the quarter down 66% at $20.32. —Alexander Davis, 1:15 p.m. PDT, March 31

PitchBook reports on the coronavirus impact on private markets

The pandemic is transforming private market strategies for LPs

The COVID-19 pandemic's ripple effects across private financial markets continue to widen. The latest research note from our analysts is dedicated to exploring how allocators to private fund strategies are adapting to the coronavirus crisis. A few key findings:
 
  • As a group, LPs are better positioned to combat the denominator effect today than during the global financial crisis
  • LPs allocating to PE and VC funds can expect net cash flows to turn negative
  • Many VC funds are likely to shift some of their expenditures toward sustaining portfolio companies
—James Gelfer, Dylan Cox, Hilary Wiek, Wylie Fernyhough, Andy White and Zane Carmean, 4:47 p.m. PDT, April 2

How the pandemic puts supply chain tech to the test

Global supply chains are under extreme pressure amid the coronavirus outbreak. In a new research note, PitchBook's emerging tech analysts detail the heightened importance of technology that can increase the visibility, flexibility and automation of supply chains. Key takeaways include:
  • Risk management and freight tech startups could improve management visibility into component sourcing and movement
  • Mobile robots and automation tech enable cost savings and help maintain continuity of business operations
  • Digital warehouse marketplaces and on-demand storage providers can help keep inventory stocked
—Asad Hussein and Van Le, April 1

How COVID-19 will impact US venture

Rising from the depths of the financial crisis, the US venture capital industry steadily evolved throughout the 2010s, culminating in recent record-breaking years. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the entire world in just a few short months, US venture is changing again.

As part of our ongoing research coverage of COVID-19, the latest note from our venture analysts breaks down the pandemic's many ramifications for the US venture ecosystem. —James Gelfer, Cameron Stanfill, Kyle Stanford, Joshua Chao and Van Le, 6:13 p.m. PDT, March 31

How COVID-19 is affecting the US PE market

As the coronavirus epidemic reshapes the global economy, it's also shifting the focus in certain areas of the market. For private equity, which is in many ways a bet on future economic growth, that means first looking to secure current investments before sourcing new deals.

The latest research note from our PE analysts details how the outbreak is transforming the market and how the private equity industry is likely to respond as it continues. —Dylan Cox, Wylie Fernyhough and Zane Carmean, March 30

The ripple effects of coronavirus on emerging technologies

Venture-backed startups are facing an ever-shifting environment and a largely uncertain future amid the coronavirus outbreak. But, as our latest analyst note shows, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

VC deal value dropped 28% during the Great Recession, but deal count fell just 5%—and it rose for angel & seed deals, suggesting that, while deals may be smaller, startups can still find investors. However, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is expected to vary widely across different sectors of emerging tech. —Paul Condra and Aria Nikkhoui, March 26

Case studies for the coronavirus outbreak

As part of PitchBook's ongoing efforts to provide useful and actionable research amid the coronavirus pandemic, we've been combing our archives to find past analyses that are newly relevant to the current situation in the private markets. Today we're featuring two case studies from previous editions of the PitchBook Benchmarks.

The first case study explores the performance of buyout funds from 2007—a year that marked a stark inflection point in the historical arc of private equity.

VC and PE fund cash flows have deviated from historical trends as of late. Zeroing in on call-down percentages, the second case study examines how private fund managers have acted in times of distress. —Garrett Black and James Gelfer, March 25

Research: COVID-19, the sell-everything trade, and the impact on private markets

The latest PitchBook analyst note assesses what's in store for PE and VC firms in the wake of recent market volatility amid the coronavirus outbreak and an impending economic slowdown. Dissecting historical performance and fundraising data, our analysts highlight how private markets have fared in past downturns and discuss the key differences in the newest bear market. The report also discusses how emerging technologies and various startups will help companies and consumers weather the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout. —Nizar Tarhuni, James Gelfer, Paul Condra and Dylan Cox, March 17

Did you miss any of our continuing coverage of COVID-19? Find our previous updates below:

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