Excellent post by Brad Feld on the emerging Unicorpse phenomenon (One time unicorns that failed to maintain momentum and valuation.)  He mentions some of his prior experiences…

I once was on the board of a company that had generated lifetime revenue of $1.5m and was acquired by a public company for $280m of stock which, by the time the deal closed, was worth around $1.1 billion. Two years later, the public company (which at one point was worth over $30b) was bankrupt.
None of these companies were ultimately worth $1 billion or more. Each of them stumbled for different reasons, but a lack of obsessive focus on product and customer was a big part of why they vaporized. They assumed, regardless of how much capital they had, that they could raise more. They didn’t focus on building a long term, sustainable business that had a huge protective moat around it. I don’t care how disruptive you are – if you don’t build a moat, someone is going to come disrupt you.

The big message here by Brad and it is one that I would echo is – Focus on product and building a great company.  Manage your burn.  Never assume that money will always be available. Have options. Don’t focus on valuation.

Any views from company leaders and founders on this?

Dion Madsen

Those that know me well, know that my favorite words are “Super”, “Great” and “Awesome”. The geek part of me is energized solving the complexity of biology and improving the delivery of care.  I learned patience, hard work and entrepreneurship growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan and teamwork in the rinks and ballfields of my hometown.  After working in Europe and then dealing with bare-knuckle politics in Saskatchewan, I migrated west to Alberta where I began to hang out with some crazy guys doing something called “the Internet” which led to me being the CFO of a publicly-traded company.  After selling the company, I crossed over to the VC side and during a meeting with a vaccine company I had the epiphany of “I can make money and help people at the same time? Awesome!” and I have been working for or financing healthcare companies ever since.

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