With a flurry of exits by mobile Internet companies in Q4 2015, and a slowdown in venture capital investing behind us, now may be the time to look in the rearview mirror. Did we just pass the top of the market? Going forward, will it be all downhill for the values of these companies?
According to Digi-Capital, a tech M&A adviser, 102 mobile Internet unicorns grew to $1 trillion after adding $130 billion value in Q4 2015. The year saw $100 billion of mobile Internet exits, as consolidation kicked into overdrive while IPOs cooled. In January, this cooling turned to freezing as zero tech companies went public.
Further, while investors poured $69 billion into mobile Internet companies last year, investment dropped over 20 percent in Q4 2015 after nine straight quarters of growth. And the market capitalization of 92 publicly-traded mobile Internet companies was flat for the year, according to Digi-Capital.
While the Q4 2015 data suggests a peak market, we may need another quarter to know for certain. Last month VentureBeat reported on 229 unicorns across many sectors, with $175 billion in funding, which had attained a combined $1.3 trillion value. What happens to unicorns of every stripe continues to be a hot topic of conversation in Silicon Valley.
Tim Merel, founder and CEO of Digi-Capital said, “Marc Andreessen and Bill Gurley’s ongoing debate about flying and dead unicorns remained unsettled at the end of last year,” referring to the partners of venture capital firms, Andreesen Horowitz and Benchmark, respectively. One hundred-and-two mobile Internet unicorns added $130 billion value in the fourth quarter to reach $1 trillion for the first time, while four mobile internet unicorns fell below the $1 billion mark.
“So they’re both right,” Merel says. ‘For now.”