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Inside the Smart Game of Late Fundraising Rounds

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This story appears in the September 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It used to be the walk of shame: startups raising Series D, E and even later rounds of investment. This was usually an indication that things weren’t going as planned or that the window for a substantial acquisition or IPO had shut for macroeconomic reasons. While the letters associated with a round of private capital are somewhat arbitrary, the deeper you went into the alphabet, the more questions were asked about whether you had a viable business.

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This is no longer the case. Today, mega-rounds of late-stage capital are common, driven by companies that are choosing to stay private longer. According to the National Venture Capital Association, the median time for venture-backed startups to exit more than doubled from 3.1 years in 2000 to 7.4 years in 2013.

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