Is the venture bubble about to explode? Are valuations too high? J.B. Pritzker, co-founder and managing partner of Pritzker Group thinks we are heading there.
“We are not in 1999, but, boy, valuations seem high to me,” said Pritzker during a private breakfast for 80 family offices and venture firms, in a fireside chat with Esther Dyson, hosted by Alpha Venture Partners.”I worry about where we are, because I’ve been to the movie before.”
Pritzker shared a story from before the bursting of the dot.com bubble of an entrepreneur who came to him with zero revenue, no working product and no management experience, asking for a $20 million investment. “We sent him away. Six weeks later he closed that deal. When you see things like that, you know you are in the end days of high valuations.”
He added that there’s even more to it than that.
“At the earliest stages, numbers have been creeping up lately. We are seeing more of the overvalued early stage ones, than the fairly valued ones.”
As for late-stage investment, Pritzker mentioned some of the recent unicorns, wondering how many of them can actually go public.
“It is always the case, maybe because I’m a conservative midwesterner, that I am calling it just a bit earlier than anyone else,” he said.