Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, two of Silicon Valley’s most high-profile venture firms, are poised to take a massive hit on their last investment in grocery delivery company Instacart, a deal that closed in 2021 as tech stocks were soaring.
That’s more than 75% below where Sequoia and Andreessen invested in early 2021. At that time, Instacart sold shares at $125 a piece for a $39 billion valuation. The delivery economy was booming because of Covid shutdowns, and Instacart’s services were seeing record demand.
“This past year ushered in a new normal, changing the way people shop for groceries and goods,” Instacart finance chief Nick Giovanni said in a press release at the time.
In the more than two years since then, Instacart and its investors have learned that growth during that period was anything but normal. Instacart was closing out a quarter in which revenue surged 200%. In the quarter before, sales jumped almost sevenfold. Instacart said it was preparing to increase head count by 50% and bolster investment in advertising.
Sequoia’s Mike Moritz, who led his firm’s investment and recently announced his departure after 38 years, said in the same press release that Instacart was “fulfilling its role as a vital service for consumers, a reliable partner for retailers and an effective platform for advertisers.” Fidelity, T. Rowe Price and D1 Capital Partners also participated in that financing round.
Then the economy reopened, inflation spiked and the Federal Reserve started boosting interest rates, which hovered near zero throughout Covid. Consumers started shopping again in person on tightened budgets, and with capital costs jumping, investors began demanding that cash-burning companies find a path to profitability. Last year, the Nasdaq suffered its steepest drop since the 2008 financial crisis.
It’s also true that venture firms haven’t seen any real returns from IPOs since before the 2022 market collapse. The dearth of exits is particularly stark because VCs invested record amounts of capital in 2020 and 2021, including deals at high valuations in areas such as crypto and fintech.
Even with the changing market conditions, Instacart has continued to grow but at a dramatically slower pace. Revenue increased 15% in the latest quarter from the year prior, and operating expenses have come down over that time, allowing the company to turn profitable.
From a valuation perspective, the bigger issue is that Instacart raised the $39 billion round during a record stretch of tech IPOs, and just a couple of months after fellow sharing-economy companies Airbnb and DoorDash had blockbuster offerings.
There hasn’t been a notable venture-backed tech IPO in the U.S. since late 2021, and Instacart and Klaviyo are the only two that have publicly filed recently. Car-sharing service Turo is also on file, but its initial prospectus came out in early 2022.
Fortunately for Sequoia and Andreessen, they began investing in Instacart when the company was in its early days and the stock price was much lower than it is today. Assuming the stock price holds up, there’s still considerable money to be made for limited partners. Because of the lock-up period, the firms can’t begin selling shares until 180 days after the offering.
Sequoia is the largest investor in Instacart, with a 15% stake on a fully diluted basis. The 400,000 shares it purchased in 2021 are a small sliver of the 51.2 million shares it owns. In total, the firm has invested about $300 million for a stake that would be worth over $1.5 billion at the top of the range.
Sequoia led Instacart’s $8.5 million Series A round in 2013, when the price was just 24 cents a share, according to the prospectus. Andreessen led the next round at $2.98, and Sequoia participated. Both firms were in the Series C at $13.31 a share and the Series D at $18.52.
Because Andreessen’s total ownership is below 5%, its full stake isn’t disclosed in the prospectus.
Representatives from Sequoia and Andreessen declined to comment.
Not until 2020 did Instacart’s share price climb to around where it is today, in a $200 million round led by Valiant Peregrine Fund and D1. Neither Sequoia nor Andreessen participated in that round.
Even if Instacart’s IPO can’t lift its valuation anywhere near its Covid-era peak, it’s likely that Sequoia, Andreessen and other venture firms are hoping it helps lift public investor enthusiasm for new tech stocks. Arm, which was taken private by SoftBank in 2016, reentered the public market on Thursday and jumped 25% in its debut.
Tense diplomatic relations may not impact trade, investment ties between India, Canada: Experts
NEW DELHI: The tense diplomatic relations between India and Canada are unlikely to impact trade and investments between the two countries as economic ties are driven by commercial considerations, according to experts. Both India and Canada trade in complementary products and do not compete on similar products.
“Hence, the trade relationship will continue to grow and not be affected by day-to-day events,” Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) Co-Founder Ajay Srivastava said.
Certain political developments have led to a pause in negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
On September 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau India’s strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.
India on Tuesday announced the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat hours after Canada asked an Indian official to leave that country, citing a “potential” Indian link to the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in June.
Srivastava said these recent events are unlikely to affect the deep-rooted people-to-people connections, trade, and economic ties between the two nations.
Bilateral trade between India and Canada has grown significantly in recent years, reaching USD 8.16 billion in 2022-23.
India’s exports (USD 4.1 billion) to Canada include pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles, and machinery, while Canada’s exports to India (USD 4.06 billion) include pulses, timber, pulp and paper, and mining products.
On investments, he said that Canadian pension funds will continue investing in India on grounds of India’s large market and good return on money invested.
Canadian pension funds, by the end of 2022, had invested over USD 45 billion in India, making it the fourth-largest recipient of Canadian FDI in the world.
The top sectors for Canadian pension fund investment in India include infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, and financial services.
Mumbai-based exporter and Chairman of Technocraft Industries Sharad Kumar Saraf said the present frosty relations between India and Canada are certainly a cause for concern.
“However, the bilateral trade is entirely driven by commercial considerations. Political turmoil is of a temporary nature and should not be a reason to affect trade relations,” Saraf said.
He added that even with China, India has acrimonious relations but bilateral trade continues to remain healthy.
“In fact, bilateral trade is an effective tool to improve political relations. India must make special efforts to increase our bilateral trade with Canada,” Saraf said.
India and Canada have a strong education partnership. There are over 200 educational partnerships between Indian and Canadian institutions.
In addition, over 3,19,000 Indian students are enrolled in Canadian institutions, making them the largest international student cohort in Canada, according to GTRI.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), Indian students contributed USD 4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.
Indian students are the largest international student group in Canada, accounting for 20 per cent of all international students in 2021.
Benefits of educational partnerships are mutual and hence the current situation may have no impact on the relationship, Srivastava said.
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double India jobs and investment
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double its workforce and investment in India by next year, a company executive said on Sunday.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, has rapidly expanded its presence in India by investing in manufacturing facilities in the south of the country as the company seeks to move away from China.
V Lee, Foxconn’s representative in India, in a LinkedIn post to mark Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 73rd birthday, said the company was “aiming for another doubling of employment, FDI (foreign direct investment), and business size in India” by this time next year.
He did not give more details.
Foxconn already has an iPhone factory employing 40,000 people in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In August, the state of Karnataka said the firm will invest US$600 million for two projects to make casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment.
The company’s Chairman Liu Young-way said in an earnings briefing last month that he sees a lot of potential in India, adding: “several billion dollars in investment is only a beginning”.
Taiwan election: Foxconn’s Terry Gou taps star-powered running mate
Last month, Foxconn’s billionaire founder Terry Gou said he would run for the Taiwanese presidency in next year’s election, as an independent candidate.
He said the ruling and independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was unable to offer a bright future for the island and left Foxconn’s board following his decision to run.
The firm operates the world’s largest iPhone plant, in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province.
Foxconn to double workforce, investment in India by ‘this time next year’
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