We are pleased to present Startup Outlook 2016, Silicon Valley Bank's annual report on the health of the innovation economy. For each of the past seven years, we have taken a survey of companies to learn what entrepreneurs are thinking about business conditions, access to capital and talent, and the policy issues that help or hinder their success.
This year, we are drawing on responses from more than 900 technology and life science executives, and for the first time we expanded the survey to China. SVB conducted the survey portion of the report in December 2015, just as significant market volatility was taking hold. They say timing is everything, and in the past several weeks it has become apparent that entrepreneurs' perceptions at the end of 2015 had already shifted by mid-January.
The public conversation about 2016 is filled with doom and gloom about the innovation sector, with exaggerated predictions of the death of unicorns, a funding crisis and lackluster results all around.
At Silicon Valley Bank, we see it differently. We think it's a healthy recalibration, but it doesn't mean it's going to be easy for entrepreneurs.
Valuations were high, now they are coming back to earth. Growth at any cost is being replaced with a focus on profitability. Companies were priced for perfection, and we may see some stumble or even go out of business.
Entrepreneurs we speak with, while remaining naturally optimistic, are adopting a new attitude: Be prepared. They are pulling the reins tighter on operations and retooling strategies. They are anticipating a more balanced funding environment. They are considering M&A an even more viable exit strategy. In 2016, access to capital will get harder. But it's not supposed to be easy, and there will be opportunities for good companies with good ideas. That's healthy.
Thank you for taking a look at this report. We hope the findings can be useful as you chart your own path or follow this sector. Looking globally, the opportunities for innovation are abundant. Entrepreneurs are strong-willed men and women who want to have a positive impact on the world. That's never going to change.
A third-party firm, Peerless Insights Survey, conducted the Innovation Economy Outlook 2016 survey online on Silicon Valley Bank's behalf from November 12, 2015, to January 6, 2016.
This material, including without limitation to the statistical information herein, is provided for informational purposes only and is compiled from the survey that we worked on with Peerless Insights, a third-party source. The information should not be viewed as tax, investment, legal or other advice nor is it to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. You should obtain relevant and specific professional advice before making any investment decision. Nothing relating to the material should be construed as a solicitation, offer or recommendation to acquire or dispose of any investment or to engage in any other transaction.