Demise of the Unicorns? Snapchat's Valuation Drops by 25 Percent


This year has seen the slow, and somewhat quiet, devaluation of tech companies, the latest being Snapchat, that had once been valued in the multi-billions. Snapchat’s valuation dropped by 25 percent this week according to a quarterly portfolio released by Fidelity mutual fund. The company had been worth $ 16 billion, but now it’s worth $ 12 billion.

Other tech companies, so-callled “unicorns” for their estimated worth of over a billion dollars, have seen similar plummets in worth this year. Dropbox, a popular cloud-based file-sharing service for businesses and individuals, found itself unable to attempt IPO after BlackRock mutual funds slashed its valuation 24%, down from $ 10 billion. And Square, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s other project–a  mobile credit card payment service–recently took about a $ 2 billion hit to its valuation, down now to $ 4.2 billion.

According to Mashable, the “era of free money and wild expectation appears to be ending, for now”:

[General Partner at venture firm NEA Harry] Weller says that beginning this summer, private and public investors began to reassess just how much some of these startups are really worth.

That shift coincided with broader instability in the market from concerns about China’s economy slowing down and a looking interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, as well as worries at the time that Greece could fail to get a bailout.

…. Some startup founders have already been thinking of their “plan B,” setting aside money to survive a tech winter.

The striking decrease in valuation for these tech companies has largely arisen in the moment they’ve chosen to go public, as investors assess how much they are worth vs. the actuality of what they can get in the market. According to the New York Times:

Most of the largest mutual fund companies, including BlackRock and T. Rowe Price, have pricing committees that work independently from the portfolio managers who bought the shares. This is done, [Managing Director at Duff and Phelps David] Larsen said, to prevent money managers who might have a stake in keeping a valuation high from influencing the valuation.

In the case of Fidelity, it valued its stake in Snapchat at $ 22.91 a share as of Sept. 30, down from $ 30.72 in the previous quarter, according to data compiled by the research service Morningstar.

What do you think: are these reality checks the necessary reining in of tech companies that are too big for their britches, or the sign of a tech bubble about to burst?

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Fundraising Email Tips to Use Before the Ball Drops


As a non-profit, you may have started sending your fundraising emails to encourage end-of-year donations. While there can be a flurry of fundraising emails arriving in inboxes everywhere, there are some things you can do to help yours stand out. Here’s what you should do to make your own year-end fundraising emails a success:

Give ample time & follow-up  – You’re sending an end-of-year email, generally to meet tax deduction deadlines for those procrastinators out there, so send it in November to give folks plenty of time to donate. Make sure to monitor your email analytics and track anyone who didn’t open the first email, or click the donate call-to-action button or link, then send a follow-up email.

Get personal – Studies show that people are more likely to respond to emails that include personalized elements. Consider including your recipient’s name, or take it even further by including links to the recipient’s previous “giving history.” VerticalResponse allow users to segment lists based on contact information, as well as campaign activity. By using this level of segmentation, you can send a much more targeted email.

Include a donate call-to-action button – Because you’re asking people to take action with your email (make a donation), make sure your call-to-action is simple and clear.  Use a contrasting color and place your call-to-action near the top of the email so it’s easy to find and use. Remember, VerticalResponse has a free button tool that allows you to create a call-to-action button in any color you need.

Give people reasons & donating options – Since people are receiving many requests for donations this time of year, provide them reasons to donate. Also, make sure you mention whether you provide different donation options to give the greatest flexibility. An effective best practice is to explain how different donation levels have an effect on the people you serve.

Before you send your fundraising emails, test out each step your recipients will experience to ensure everything is working correctly. This includes testing personalization in the email, the donation button – in the email and on your site, the donation form and proofing all the copy.

Conclusion:  There are many reasons people and companies donate this time of year, tax breaks, sure, but it’s also a time for reflection on the year that’s passed and the one about to start, and many people want to help those in need. Try using a last-minute fundraising email for your non-profit and see how you can increase your donations before the ball drops.


Receive a $ 10,000 grant for your non-profit organization just by writing 140 characters or less. Enter the Deluxe Short + Tweet Grants Program by midnight November 4th!

This post has been updated and was originally posted on November 20, 2013.

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