For Self-Driving Startups, Private Markets Are The Place To Be

Crunchbase is out today with a writeup of the dim performance of all of the 2020-2021 self-driving SPACs and IPOs: “Self-Driving Tech Startups Are Driving Off A Cliff On Public Markets.”

The article features a table of 14 self-driving-related companies that went public, ranging from Quanergy (down 99% since listing) to Arbe (“only” down 50% since listing). For comparison, the Nasdaq is down 35% from its high at the beginning of the calendar year.

On bright side, the article notes that “VCs are still investing.”

Maybe private market investment isn’t as robust as a year or two ago, and the term URINO made me chuckle, but for a startup cash is oxygen. Oxygen is easier to come by in the private markets than the public markets this year.

In a down market, it’s often easier to be private than public, as the relentless and public downward march of a company’s stock price can depress employees and potential new investors.

A year ago, multi-billion dollar valuations on zero revenue, and good-as-cash equity grants to employees, were pretty awesome. In 2022, maybe not so much.

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