For a single year, it appeared that the venture gambit was going to work out: Hundreds of startups hoped to be worth billions on paper and exit in good order. Sadly for investors and founders alike, that year — 2021, as I am sure you’ve guessed — turned out to be more of an outlier than an indicator of a new normal.
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Since 2021, the value of American startups has cratered and how: Total exit value last year was only around 10% of 2021’s total, according to a recent PitchBook report. Thus far in 2023, exit value is even more in the dirt. If we annualize the startup exit value of Q1 2023, the total value of M&A and IPOs of American private tech companies would be around 68% less than the already-depressed numbers of 2022.
Leaning on several PitchBook reports, TechCrunch+ has compiled the following graph of American venture-backed startup exits from 2012 through the first quarter of 2023: