By: Mike Montgomery
Entrepreneur Wayne Jackson has survived his fair share of bad markets.
In 2001, just after the Internet bubble popped, he helped start network-security company Sourcefire. Despite the difficult economic climate, he managed to raise $56.5 million in funding and took the company public in 2007. Cisco later bought Sourcefire for $2.7 billion. In 2010 Jackson took over at Sonatype, another security company, which launched in 2008 just as the economy was collapsing. Today the company is doing just fine. It recently raised $30 million in a financing round led by Goldman Sachs.
“I argued then and I’d argue now, quality ideas are going to be appealing to investors regardless of the market climate,” says Jackson.
Those words should come as some comfort to entrepreneurs who are looking at the current economic landscape and feeling a little anxious. The stock market has been on a nauseating roller-coaster ride that has left many investors shaken.
And while a public offering is years away for anyone starting a business today, that uncertainty trickles down. In the fourth quarter of 2015, venture capital deals dropped from $38.7 billion to $27.2 billion, according to CB Insights. In the third quarter there were 24 unicorns (companies worth over $1 billion) born. In the fourth quarter, only 12 companies hit that milestone.