It’s been over a year since macroeconomic headwinds started wreaking havoc on venture capital. Late-stage startups were the first to feel the blow, but the impacts continued to creep lower as 2022 went on.
Now in 2023, it seems the uncertainty has made its way down to the seed stage — for some companies, at least.
Several seed investors have told TechCrunch+ they’ve seen a drop in outreach for seed deals and have seen valuations soften. But Q1 data from both PitchBook and Carta paints a slightly different picture: While Q1 was the slowest period for seed deals in 10 quarters, median and average deal sizes and median deal pre-money valuations were up compared to Q4 of 2022.
But there’s an issue with tracking seed-stage deals: The data is almost never complete because these figures only include information on priced rounds and don’t include SAFEs. Considering SAFEs seem to make up the majority, if not a significant portion, of these early-stage deals, we aren’t getting the full picture.
So what’s actually happening?