FORTUNE -- If it feels like every startup you've ever heard of is rushing to drum up large rounds of funding, that's because they probably are. It's hard to miss the string of massive rounds from recent months: Lyft raised $250 million from Alibaba Group and Third Point. Airbnb is raising $450 million to $500 million. Dropbox raised more than $500 million. Insight Venture Partners invested $250 million into Campaign Monitor.
Quora raised $80 million from Tiger Global Management. Squarespace just raised $40 million. Paperless Post raised $25 million. Betterment raised $32 million. Learnvest raised $28 million. Julep Beauty raised $30 million. Crittercism raised $30 million.
Beyond that, Blue Apron is raising $50 million at a $500 million valuation. Birchbox is raising $50 million at a nearly comparable valuation. Bonobos is raising a sizable new round. Automattic is raising between $100 million and $150 million.
Perhaps more meaningful than the news of each particular raise is the pattern they're creating. Many of these companies know they're going to need capital at some point this year. Many of them have been advised to raise now, because the market for big financings might not be so friendly in the coming quarters.
In short, startups are bulking up for a long 2014. They've read the headlines: Public tech stocks have had a volatile two weeks, peaking last week after a five-year-market rally.
The shrinking market caps of public tech stocks are expected to trickle down to private company valuations. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the selloff spells trouble for upcoming and recent tech IPOs. Bloomberg noted that the selloff was "restoring some rationalization" to the startup fundraising frenzy of late.
And the selloff in public tech stocks isn't necessarily over, according to Fortune's Steve Gandel. Their average price-to-earnings ratio of 18 is rich compared to that of the S&P 500, which has an average P/E ratio of 16.
Still, since the private market is sticky, it takes longer to adjust to falling valuations and investor fears, according to Deven Parekh, a managing director at Insight Venture Partners. "It takes prolonged volatility to make that happen," he says. But he notes that startups are already hustling to get their rounds closed just in case.
"We are already seeing pressure on later-stage large rounds in a few sectors based on the shakiness of the public markets," says David Pakman, a partner at Venrock. "Many of our later-stage companies are closing rounds quickly to gather as much capital as possible in case they need to weather an upcoming storm of uncertainty in the later-stage VC markets."
Judging by the daily deluge of funding announcements (and the back channel of those in the works), the uneasiness hasn't fully trickled down yet. In the meantime, companies are grabbing what they can.
"I think anyone who is invested in companies that need to raise big rounds this year should get it done now," says Antonio Rodriguez of Matrix Partners. Mo Koyfman, a partner at Spark Capital, notes that good companies will always be able to raise money, but that "it's always wise for companies to raise capital when the funding markets are good, as they have been recently, and to raise enough money so they can have the time to execute and withstand any potential downturns."
Indeed, there's a famous VC saying about raising money while the market's hot.
Famous VC rule of thumb on financing: "The time to eat the hors d'oeuvres is when they're being passed."
— Bill Gurley (@bgurley) July 27, 2012
Right now, the market is hot. Venture funding in the first quarter of 2014 was at its highest level since 2001. But it might not be for much longer.
The meal kit company is cooking up a lot more venture capital funding.
FORTUNE -- Blue Apron is closing in on a large new round of venture capital funding that could value the food-focused startup at upwards of $500 million, Fortune has learned.
The New York-based company designs meal kits, which feature three meals each, and sells them by weekly subscription. It makes a profit by buying food in bulk and splitting it up MOREErin Griffith - Apr 7, 2014 3:36 PM ET
Pejman Nozad's venture firm has invested in HomeJoy, Heap, and others.
FORTUNE -- When Pejman Nozad, a veteran Silicon Valley angel investor, teamed up with repeat entrepreneur Mar Hershenson to start a new early-stage venture fund last year, the pair aimed to raise $20 million.
But the fund was quickly oversubscribed, as a growing number of individuals and institutions are angling for a piece of the Valley's hot startup scene. Pejman Mar MOREMiguel Helft, senior writer - Apr 3, 2014 9:26 AM ET
The subscription startup that mails cooking kits to your door has quietly hit a considerable milestone, but it has a growing number of competitors in a hot space.
By Daniel Roberts, writer-reporter
FORTUNE -- Tech has finally caught on to the food revolution. Even as dining culture explodes and innovative restaurants with celebrity chefs gain exposure and foot traffic, a slew of recent startups cater to the opposite activity: eating in.
Seamless MOREMar 24, 2014 7:00 AM ET
Ad agency hopes to increase its cool factor by backing innovative startups.
FORTUNE -- Ad agency R/GA is in the process of launching a fund to invest in startups, the agency's COO Stephen Plumlee said last night, during a demo day for R/GA and Techstars' Connected Device accelerator.
In an interview, Plumlee said the size of the fund can't yet be announced as it is not yet closed. The fund will include MOREErin Griffith - Mar 19, 2014 6:36 AM ET
The New York-based early stage investment firm's latest fund will likely be oversubscribed, a source says.
FORTUNE -- RRE Ventures has entered the market with its sixth fund, according to a regulatory filing with the SEC. The New York-based venture capital firm is expected to have an easy time hitting its target of $250 million, the same size as its last fund.
If there is enough demand, RRE may increase the MOREErin Griffith - Feb 26, 2014 9:38 AM ET
As the startup incubator's co-founder steps down, Graham offers budding entrepreneurs several tips.
FORTUNE -- Paul Graham has touched a lot of startups.
Not in the sappy, sentimental way -- though some founders may largely credit him for their success -- but where influence is concerned. Because few in the Valley can claim they have interacted with, advised, and funded as many early-stage businesses as Graham has. Indeed, Y Combinator, the startup MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Feb 24, 2014 8:58 PM ET
New fund will invest in seed-stage startups.
FORTUNE -- Nikhil Kalghatgi has spent the last three years investing in early stage startups at Softbank Capital. Earlier this year he left that role to launch his own fund.
Vast Ventures, which describes itself as an early stage venture fund, is in the midst of raising a $50 million investment vehicle, according to an SEC filing. The filing was posted in January.
MORE: Is there an ed-tech investment MOREErin Griffith - Feb 19, 2014 3:55 PM ET
The venture capitalist disputes arguments of another Valley bubble. Also: why Bitcoin is a breakthrough technology that's likely here to stay.
FORTUNE -- Contrary to arguments that Silicon Valley is repeating the same process that led to the dotcom bust in the early 2000s, Marc Andreessen argues tech is doing something entirely different: emerging from an industrywide depression.
"I think we're recovering from a depression, and I think we felt the MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Feb 12, 2014 7:00 PM ET
Maveron's Dan Levitan, in his own words, on how he met Trupanion CEO Darryl Rawlings and decided to invest in his company.
FORTUNE -- Maveron is a U.S. venture capital firm based in Seattle and San Francisco that was co-founded in 1998 by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and investment banker Dan Levitan. The firm focuses exclusively on consumer businesses, and has made a name for itself with successful investments in the MOREAdam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large - Feb 6, 2014 7:04 AM ET
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