Tough Times For NEA, A VC Firm That Put Big Money Into 3 Failing Startups Lot18, Viddy And Beachmint

wine glass shatter shot explode

If you follow the world of startups, you know Beachmint, Lot18 and Viddy have all made headlines over the past few years.

Initially, they were recognised for raising big rounds of financing from notable investors. Each has raised more than $35 million (and in Beachmint’s case more than $70 million) to date. Now, they’re suffering management changes, layoffs, and some of their products are shutting down. Two of them, Viddy and Beachmint, are reportedly returning close to $20 million to investors.

Beachmint is a celebrity-endorsed e-commerce company, Viddy is a social video app with filters, and Lot18 is a wine sales platform.

The common factor in all of those companies, besides their initial hype and struggles, is one of their investors, New Enterprise Associates (NEA). NEA invested in Lot18’s Series B and Series C rounds totaling $40 million. It invested in every Beachmint round of financing totaling $73.5 million. And it invested in Viddy’s $30 million round.

NEA also invested in Loosecubes, a startup that went belly up just as NEA was joining a $7.8 million round of financing in it last summer. Then there’s SAY Media, another NEA investment which recently suffered significant layoffs.

Battery Ventures is also paying the price for similar investments. Battery Ventures was invested in Viddy prior to NEA’s $30 million round as well as Loosecubes.

That’s not to say either firm is in trouble. It takes years to know how a VC’s portfolio will fair. NEA has a giant $2.6 billion fund that it raised in July 2012 to keep it running for a long time. All it takes is one or two home runs to return an entire fund. And NEA has gotten its hands in a number of promising startups, such as 10gen, Duolingo, BuzzFeed and Braintree.

But it’s hard to ignore that over the past two years, a few of it’s biggest picks have gone south.

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