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A new website is tracking startups’ falling valuations

The Sock Puppet makes an appearance near Jeff Koons' "Puppy" in Rockefeller Plaza, Thursday, June 8, 2000, in New York. Online companies are starting to license their domain names, advertising gimmicks and site content, taking advantage of a low-cost way to market themselves and bring in some additional revenue. Many will be making their first appearance at "L!censing 2000 International," the licensing industry's major trade show that begins Tuesday in New York. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)
AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser
FuckedCompany readers are familiar with this famous dot-com bubble mascot.
By Alice Truong
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

FuckedCompany colorfully chronicled the collapse and failure of the first dot-com boom. Now a tool called Downround Tracker launched today by research firm CB Insights is providing running detail on the current round of failures and disappointments among internet startups.

It remains to be seen whether Downround Tracker catalyzes schadenfreude around Silicon Valley stumbles like FuckedCompany did—it’s more like an online spreadsheet than the gossipy chat site run by internet bad boy Philip Kaplan that was FuckedCompany. (FuckedCompany shut down in 2007, but you can see an archived page from Sept. 2001 here, and a directory of archived pages here.)

But Downround Tracker is another public reality check on the state of internet companies, whose recent wobbles have some employees and investors concerned.

Square, Foursquare, and Jawbone are among the at-least 13 companies that have raised funding, sold, or listed on the stock market at a reportedly lower valuation than what they previously touted, according to Downround Tracker.

“These are all companies that are emblematic of maybe discipline getting away from the private markets,” CB Insights research director Marcelo Ballve tells Quartz. “I don’t think that there’s necessarily anything new that when sentiment shifts, there’s more scrutiny on fundamentals and traditional metrics rather than the focus on growth.”

While insightful, the firm’s down round tracker—a corollary to its “unicorn” tracker (the mythical creature being a nickname for startups valued at $1 billion or more)—does rely on news reports for rumored down rounds and thus doesn’t always have numbers to back the up the lowered valuations.

“When ‘n/a’ is attached to a startup that exited for less than raised, we know that investors have not fared well and so it is a down exit by definition, without needing to know the valuations,” says Ballve. He adds that companies will sometimes “acknowledge a down round without disclosing the new or previous valuation.”

As for gossip about startup woes, some Silicon Valley watchers look to Glassdoor, the site where employees can review their companies.

It’s worth noting that startup deadpool sites don’t always do much better themselves. One called Closed Club that was launched in late 2014 appears to itself now be…closed.

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