When installment lender Klarna revealed in July it had raised $800 million at a valuation 85% lower than its previous funding round, the deal was seen as the first in a likely wave of dramatic down rounds. Instead, startups including fitness equipment maker Tonal, delivery app Jokr and investing app Acorns are still managing to raise money at slightly higher headline valuations.
It turns out that those startups, unlike Klarna, snared those higher valuations at a big cost. They had to offer terms that guaranteed investors a return of as much as double their money in a worst-case scenario. The cost is so high that some venture capitalists and founders have dubbed the fundraisings “up rounds in name only.”