Saturday, February 27, 2016

Venture Capital: "Morgan Stanley Marks Down Its Stake In Palantir, Dropbox"

Marking down Palantir, one of the extremely rare (former) Double Decacorns is a big deal.
From Fortune:
Another sign of a cooling market for high-flying startups.

A Morgan Stanley mutual fund has marked down the value of its shares in high-profile data crunching company Palantir by 32%, highlighting the darkening cloud over many of Silicon Valley’s billion dollar startups.

The lowered share valuation, first reported by technology news site The Information, comes as technology companies face increased investor skepticism. Even elite startups like Palantir, valued at nearly $20 billion in its latest funding round in July, are being caught in the recent turbulence.
Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Fund Trust Mid Cap Growth Portfolio mutual fund, whose stake in Palantir is now worth $45 million, disclosed in a filing that it had reduced the value it assigned to Palantir’s shares to $7.70 as of December compared to $11.38 at the company’s most recent fundraising round.

Morgan Stanley’s fund invested in Palantir, a part of a group of highly valued tech startups known as unicorns, in 2012 and 2013....MORE
This follows on news reported last week that someone was posting flyers around Palantir HQ that said employee stock was worthless. Here's Fortune again, this time from Feb. 24:

Dead Unicorns Are Warning Silicon Valley Workers
There will be blood (and tears.)

For Silicon Valley’s “unicorns,” the writing is on the wall—literally, flyers warning of their plummeting values are appearing on walls.

On Wednesday, Quartz reporter David Yanofsky spotted paper flyers taped around Palo Alto’s University Avenue, a major artery of tech offices in the city, warning Palantir employees’ of their worthless company shares. Along with stern statements about shares of Palantir’s common stock, which are worth $0, according to the flyer’s author, is a slain unicorn, bleeding rainbow colors.

“Go on a strike or take over the company. Just don’t let your founders and investors screw you over,” read the flyers, in capital letters.

Founded in 2004, Palantir is a venture capital-funded company that provides data analysis software, and whose clients include U.S. government agencies. In December, it closed a $880 million mega-round of funding, and it’s currently valued at $20 billion. Palantir co-founder and CEO Alex Karp has also publicly voiced the company’s desire to remain private, likely another reason for the flyers’ alarm about the company’s employee stock....MORE