VC-backed exits recorded another strong year of activity with the $67.3 billion exited across 1,265 transactions. Although the this is the third straight year of falling exit counts, this activity represents a slight increase of value over the two previous years. The maturing venture environment across North America and Europe, combined with consistently generous valuations in the market, have contributed to the proliferation of larger exits.
The 2017 Annual VC Liquidity Report, sponsored by Deloitte, details the happenings within the North American and European exit markets, using data through the end of the year to provide a window into how and why trends have formed. This edition sections acquisitions, buyouts and IPOs independently so that more pinpoint analyses can be used.
- Acquisitions declined for the third consecutive year in 2017, as count slid 15.4% and value decreased 21% from the previous year. PE sponsors have become a prominent third source of liquidity for VCs, as buyouts shot up to 18.5% of all exits in 2017, and nearly doubled in value to $8.1 billion.
- With over $13.5 billion raised across 114 offerings, venture-backed IPOs increased by 30% in count year over year. Strong demand for tech offerings amid a strong public market paved the way for six outsized tech IPOs to raise more than $500 million each.
- 2017 brought a host of alternative VC exit options to the forefront, with IPO fees centered in the crosshairs. Social Capital and Hedosophia partnered to form an IPO a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) specifically to execute a reverse merger of a technology company valued over $1 billion dollars. Additionally, Spotify’s direct listing represents a unique approach to the traditional IPO process by forgoing full underwriting services.