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每日跟讀#727: ‘Unicorns’ Learn A Hard Lesson:Profits Matter

獨角獸學到教訓:要能賺錢才行

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日跟讀#727: ‘Unicorns’ Learn A Hard Lesson:Profits Matter

Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures, recently published a blog post titled “The Great Public Market Reckoning.” In it, he argued that the narrative that had driven startup hype and valuations for the past decade was now falling apart.

美國聯合廣場創業投資公司創投業者威爾森,最近發表一篇部落格文章,題為「公開市場算總帳」,他在文中主張,過去十年使新創事業知名度和市值衝高的那一套說詞,如今不管用了。

His post quickly ricocheted across Silicon Valley. Other venture capitalists, including Bill Gurley of Benchmark and Brad Feld of Foundry Group, soon weighed in with their own warnings about fiscal responsibility.

威爾森的文章隨即在整個矽谷引起回響。其他創投業者,包括標竿資本公司的格利和鑄造集團的費爾德,旋即加入討論,各就財務責任提出警告。

At some startups, entrepreneurs began behaving more cautiously. Travis VanderZanden, chief executive of the scooter startup Bird, declared at a tech conference in San Francisco last week that his company was now focused on profit and not growth.

一些新創事業的創業者開始更謹慎行事。美國共享電動滑板車新創企業柏德公司執行長范德桑登,本月初在舊金山一場科技會議上宣布,他的公司現在專注於獲利,而非成長。

The moves all point to a new gospel that is starting to spread in startup land. For the last decade, young tech companies were fueled by a wave of venture capital-funded excess, which encouraged fast growth above all else. But now some investors and startups are beginning to rethink that mantra and instead invoke turning a profit and generating “positive unit economics” as their new priorities.

這些舉動都反映出,新的信條開始在新創事業圈風行。過去十年,新興科技公司受到爆量的創投資金鼓舞,這些資金重視快速成長甚於一切。不過,如今一些投資人和新創事業開始反省「快速成長」這信條,轉以獲利和產生「正向單位經濟效益」為新的首要目標。

The nascent change is being driven by the stumbles of some high-profile “unicorns” — the startups that were valued at $1 billion and above in the private markets — just as they reached the stock market.

出現這種新的轉變,是因為一些高知名度的「獨角獸」一上市就受挫。獨角獸是指在私募市場市值10億美元以上的新創事業。

The lackluster performances have raised questions about Silicon Valley’s startup formula of spending lots of money to grow at the expense of profits. (All of those companies lose money.) Public market investors, it seemed, just weren’t having it.

這些獨角獸表現不佳,令人質疑矽谷新創事業砸大錢拚成長卻犧牲獲利的成規。(這些公司全都賠錢。)看來公開市場的投資人也不相信這一套。

“A lot of these highly valued companies have run into the buzz saw of Wall Street, where they’re questioning or reminding us that profitability matters,” said Patricia Nakache, a partner at Trinity Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

矽谷創投公司「三人組創投」合夥人派翠西亞.納卡奇說:「許多高市值公司在華爾街踢到鐵板,這些公司探究得知,獲利能力很重要,這些公司的例子也提醒我們這件事。」

She added that she anticipated a “ripple effect” on private startup valuations that would start with the largest, most valuable companies and trickle down to the smaller, younger ones.

納卡奇說,她預期這會對私人新創事業的市值產生「連鎖效應」,市值下降的情況會從規模最大、市值最高的公司開始,逐漸擴及規模較小、成立時間較短的公司。

Aileen Lee, an investor at Cowboy Ventures, a venture capital firm in Palo Alto, California, said she considered dusting off a four-year-old “winter is coming” email she had sent to startups in 2015, telling them to prepare for a downturn.

加州帕羅奧圖市創投公司「牛仔創投」的投資人艾琳.李說,她考慮把四年前寄給新創事業、警告「冬天就要來了」的一封電子郵件重新拿出來看看。2015年她在這封信中提醒新創事業,為這個圈子的下行趨勢做準備。

Other venture capitalists are being more forward. At Eniac Ventures, a venture firm in New York and San Francisco, the partners recently combed through their companies and identified the “gross margins” — a measure of profitability — for each one, said Nihal Mehta, general partner of the firm. This was not something the firm regularly looked at, he said, but they were inspired by Wilson’s cautionary blog post.

其他創投業者更進一步。紐約與舊金山創投公司「伊尼亞克創投」普通合夥人梅塔說,這家公司的合夥人最近審視了投資的公司,並找出每家公司獲利能力的指標「毛利」。他說,這並不是合夥人常常會做的事,不過他們從威爾森那篇部落格示警文得到啟發。

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/346374/web/

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