Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Price discipline is dead. Long live the tech bubble.

The big picture: Determining "proper" tech startup valuations has always been subjective, but lately it's been more akin to throwing a dart at the ceiling than at the board.

By the numbers: Private markets are following public markets, as they're wont to do, with median valuations for early-stage and later-stage startups hitting record highs, per PitchBook.

  • The pandemic is now viewed as a "heads I win, tails you lose" situation for a majority of startups. Either they benefit from trends like work-from-home, or investors are paying for expected growth post-vaccine.
  • "I give up," a Silicon Valley venture capitalist told me while discussing Salesforce's $27.7 billion deal for Slack. "I could have made a solid case for Slack at one-third that amount or at even more than what Salesforce is paying, and I'm feeling the same about most of the venture deals I see getting done."

There are signs of a bubble everywhere, but that's arguably been true for years. Any "smart money" that pulled back, including early in the pandemic, looks dumb, while plenty of dumb money looks prophetic.

  • Venture capital shifted years ago into a less price sensitive model, deciding it was better to overpay for everything than hold the line and miss out on a mega-win. That trend has only accelerated, particularly after the seed-stage.

The bottom line: "Value-add" has taken on increased importance when it comes to winning competitive deals, as so many investors have become price insensitive (in action, if not in words).

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 15, 2021 - Economy & Business

Creating a path for Black venture capitalists

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Venture capital last summer began finally reckoning with its lack of Black investors, as part of the country's broader conversation on racial inequities.

The big picture: The relative handful of existing Black venture capitalists were deluged with recruiting calls from brand-name firms, both to poach and to solicit introductions. But many felt there was a pipeline problem.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.