Five IPOs, very VCs very, very happy
The only thing rarer than a unicorn is an exit unicorn.
At TechCrunch, we cover a lot of initial funding, but we rarely have the opportunity to cover exits. This week was an exception though, which was exitpalooza like Affirm, Roblox, Airbnb and Want all archived to be public. With At the presentation of DoorDash’s IPO last week, this is more than $ 100 billion in potential floating heading into public markets as we move to the end of a 2020 turmoil.
All those exits ask a simple question – who made the money? Which VCs did you enter at the beginning of some of the biggest startups of the decade? Who’s going to buy a new family yacht for the holidays (or, like, a fancy yurt for when Burning Man leaves)? The good news is that the wealth is spreading around at least a couple of VC companies, although there are definitely a handful of partners who are looking after a lot, a lot good mail checks compared to others.
So let’s dive in.
I covered DoorDash’s and Airbnb’s the investor goes back in depth, so if you want to know more about those individual returns, feel free to check out those analyzes. But let’s take a more panoramic view of the return of these five companies in general.
First, let’s take a look at the founders. These are among the best startups ever built, and so, unsurprisingly, the founders have done quite well for themselves. But there are fairly wide variations that are interesting to note.
First, Airbnb – by far – has the best return profile for its founders. Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia together own nearly 42% of their company in IPOs, and this is after raising billions of venture capital. The reason for its success is simple: Airbnb may have had some hard first inning when it was just starting out, but once done, its rating has just increased. This helped limit dilution in its early growth cycles, and ultimately protected its ownership in the company.
David Baszucki di Roblox and Peter Szulczewski of Wish both did well: they own 12% and about 19% of their companies, respectively. Szulczewski co-founder Sheng “Danny” Zhang, who is Wish’s CTO, owns 4.9%. Eric Cassel, the co-founder of Roblox, did not disclose ownership of the company’s S-1 filing, indicating that it has no more than 5% (SEC reporting threshold).
DoorDash’s the founders own a little less of their business, mostly because of the money-intensive nature of that business and the sheer number of co-founders of the company. CEO Tony Xu owns 5.2% while his two co-founders Andy Fang and Stanley Tang each own 4.7%. A fourth co-founder, Evan Moore, did not disclose his full share in the company’s presentation.
Finally, we have Affirm . Affirm has not provided the total number of shares for the company, so it is difficult now to get a full ownership framework. It’s also particularly difficult because Max Levchin, who founded Affirm, was a well-known, multi-year entrepreneur who had a unique shareholding structure from the beginning (many of the company’s companies on the cap table actually have equal proportions of common and preferred actions). Levchin has more shares together than any of its individual investors in VC – 27.5 million shares, compared to the second largest investor, Jasmine Ventures (a Singapore GIC unit) at 22 million shares.