Visualizing VC syndicates with a co-occurrence matrix

Mike Bostock, a key developer of D3.js and co-creator of ObservableHQ, created a diagram that visualizes character co-occurrences in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. What strikes me about this diagram is how a story traditionally told through novel, musical, and film can collapse into a single, atemporal matrix. This is what it looks like:

Follow the link above to see a higher-resolution animation

Bostock notes the following about using an adjacency matrix over a traditional node-link diagram when visualizing complex networks:

A network can be represented by an adjacency matrix, where each cell ij represents an edge from vertex i to vertex j. …

In an article posted in July 2020, I wrote about VC-backed company valuations and how they’ve evolved over the last 20 years. Specifically, I looked at the top 15 highest valued startups around the world — what I unimaginatively call “winners” — and how their relative quarterly valuations changed from 2000 to 2020. Some of the observations I made in the article were obvious, namely, winners are getting bigger and emerging globally. Other observations weren’t so obvious: the gap between big winners and really big winners is widening, valuations of winners reacted differently to the 2000, 2008, and 2020 macroeconomic…

Contextualizing the ever-changing innovation ecosystem

The following animation tracks the top 15 highest valued VC-backed companies over the last 20 years. Quarterly valuation changes from up rounds and down rounds creates a race-like shuffling between companies. Companies that exit (IPO, M&A, OOB) are automatically removed from the chart.

Try watching again at 2× speed

Distilling 2 decades of valuation data into a 2-minute animation shed light on the following trends:

  • Winners are getting bigger. The highest VC-backed company valuation was < $1B in 2000, approximately $10B in 2010, and >$100B in 2020 (roughly 1 order of magnitude per decade). …

James Detweiler

low fascination threshold

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