Many tech startups that have reached the coveted billion-dollar “unicorn” status are now struggling to raise capital as investors worry about valuations.
Industry folks are expecting to see “blood in the water” and “dead unicorns” in 2016.
But Goldman Sachs COO and President Gary Cohn thinks this scare could be a good thing. He described the shift in mindset he’s seen in Silicon Valley over the past three or four months on apodcast with Goldman’s Jake Siewert.
“Historically in the Valley, the mantra has been ‘Grow at any cost — get bigger, get bigger, get bigger,’” Cohn said.
But, more recently, ”the mantra has gone to: ‘Cash flow, let’s be profitable, let’s make sure we are earning money and we’ve got a very sustainable business model.’”
He said that reflects a natural evolution that you’d see in any industry or asset group.
“And it’s actually a positive thing,” he added.
Goldman Sachs topped league tables in 2015 for tech banking revenue and was recently ranked themost popular investment bank in Silicon Valley.
In Cohn’s view, many larger companies that make products that we all use and rely on — products that Cohn’s children, for example, can’t live without “because they only know a lfe with these products” — will continue to thrive.
It’s the companies with unproven business models that will have more trouble accessing funding.
“I think what this going to do is it’s going to force companies to think more and more about bottom line and revenue creation and profitability than growth, growth, growth,” he said.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, Cohn said that Goldman Sachs sees the slowdown in funding for Silicon Valley startups as “a great opportunity” for the firm.
“We’ll go out and raise capital for them,” he said.