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Venture Briefing: September 6, 2017 Venture Briefing: September 6, 2017

Venture Briefing: September 6, 2017

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41 Companies in IPO Pipeline After Labor Day
August's five IPOs raised $777 million, making it the slowest August in six years. However, the week was headlined by Roku's initial filing, which along with eight other filings grew the active pipeline to 41 companies.
(Source: NASDAQ, 2017-09-01) Read the full article
Far Fewer Startups Reaching Valuations of $1B or More
There are more unicorns in the startup world than ever before, but fewer are being birthed compared to years past. PitchBook released its 2017 Unicorn Report and the latest data shows 128 total U.S.-based companies holding a valuation of $1 billion or more at some point in 2017, an all-time high, and up from 121 last year. But the creation of new unicorns has slowed compared to the massive uptick in 2014 and 2015.
(Source: GeekWire, 2017-08-25) Read the full article
SEC Boosts Scrutiny of Digital Assets, Including ICOs
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a warning about digital coin offerings, telling investors they could be used to manipulate a company's stock price. The commission has been stepping up its scrutiny of offers and sales of digital assets, including "initial coin offerings" (ICOs) or "token sales."
(Source:, 2017-08-29) Read the full article
Average Life Span of Companies Waning Due to Technology
The disruptive force of technology is killing off older companies earlier and at a much faster rate than decades ago, squeezing employees, investors and other stakeholders, according to a new report. "The average age of a company listed on the S&P 500 has fallen from almost 60 years old in the 1950s to less than 20 years currently," a team of Credit Suisse analysts led by Eugene Klerk wrote in a note to investors.
(Source: CNBC, 2017-08-24) Read the full article
Small Businesses Optimistic, But Stunted by Fewer Loans, Workers
Six months into her tenure as head of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon sees a split among small business owners -- they are increasingly optimistic, she says, but many are held back by their inability to get loans or find the right workers for jobs that are staying open. McMahon's observations matched owners' self-assessments in surveys including ones released by Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet Corp. and by the National Federation of Independent Business.
(Source: USA Today, 2017-08-22) Read the full article
VC Headed to Deeper Operational Involvement, Investor Says
Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya says venture capitalists should seek out a deep, operational understanding of their businesses, and should bring their own experiences as entrepreneurs to the table to create a codex for new businesses. He believes an in-house roster of data scientists and other experts can help give companies an edge over their competition.
(Source: Recode, 2017-08-28) Read the full article
Corporations More Often Disclosing Audit Information Voluntarily
An Ernst & Young study of Fortune 100 proxy materials shows audit committees continue to make incremental additional voluntary disclosures to explain their oversight of the external audit. Nearly 90 percent of audit committees explicitly said in their 2017 proxies that the audit committee is responsible for the appointment, compensation, and oversight of the external auditor, up from 81 percent in 2016 and nearly double from 2012.
(Source: Compliance Week, 2017-08-22) Read the full article
CFOs Find Moving to CEO Tougher to Make Happen
For finance chiefs with a yen for moving up to the CEO chair, the likelihood of that happening pulled back this year -- but their future prospects might be brighter than that current trend seems to suggest. From 2013 through 2016, the proportion of big U.S. companies whose chief executives had been CFOs in their most recent previous position had inched steadily upward.
(Source:, 2017-08-24) Read the full article
25% of Employee Thefts Involve Losses Over $1M, 29% Take 5 Years
Nearly 25 percent of employee thefts involve large-scale losses of more than $1 million and 29 percent are carried out over five or more years. According to a study on embezzlement by specialist insurer Hiscox, high-loss cases often result from schemes that repeatedly divert small sums of money over time, making them difficult to detect.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2017-08-24) Read the full article
Business Owners Seek Activities for More Productive Meetings
Entrepreneurs have a reputation for working long hours to get their businesses up and running, leading some of their employees to a quick burnout. But some business owners have instituted activities that may seem better suited to summer camp -- outdoor planning sessions, meetings in a salt room, deal talks on a surfboard. They may sound fun and relaxing, but they are meant to be productive.
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-09-01) Read the full article
State Senator Introduces Bill to Prevent Sex Harassment from V.C.s
A rash of sexual harassment scandals this summer involving venture capitalists has laid bare a major weakness in laws meant to protect workers from unwelcome advances. While legislation is clear on many workplace interactions, there's next to nothing on the books concerning the investor-entrepreneur relationships accounting for billions of dollars in startup funding. But California legislators are proposing a change that would cover these types of interactions, creating the prospect of a wave of lawsuits against VCs.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2017-08-28) Read the full article
IoT Due Diligence Concerns in M&A Transactions
Eric Goodman Nick Merker

More and more businesses are procuring or manufacturing network-capable devices in areas where dumb devices traditionally ruled. For example, smart HVAC systems phone home to maintenance providers over the internet when repairs are needed; smart light bulbs turn on and off based on employee activity in a specific area or through centralized control by maintenance staff over the internet; and even coffee makers allow employees to brew a single cup from their desks over the corporate network and pick it up when done. Read full article online.


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Ice Miller has been one of the most active law firms in the private equity industry over the last decade, representing both entrepreneurs building great companies and the private equity firms and individuals that invest in them.  We have extensive experience with all types of funds (formations and operations); mezzanine and senior secured financing; leveraged buyouts, roll-ups, build-ups, and consolidations; divestitures and exits; and complex litigation on behalf of investors and privately financed companies.  In addition, over the past 10 years, Ice Miller has represented hundreds of emerging growth businesses in various industries on such matters as entity formation, capitalization, capital raising, alternative financing, intellectual property rights and protection, growth and exit strategies, corporate governance, tax matters, and many other legal issues that are critical to the growth and success of an emerging company.

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