My guess is, if the number truly is a simple, round $500m … then Handy just set a price. And waited.
Valuations certainly can be a very “hard science”, quantitative exercise in start-up investing, no doubt. Especially when a start-up with real revenue is actively seeking investment and needs it.
When a company either is Hot and doesn’t need the money, or sometimes, if it’s Hot and playing as if it doesn’t need the money … then often, the start-up just sest a price when the suitors come by. And waits.
Maybe it’s 2x the last round, with a large addition to the pool. Maybe it’s 2.5x the last round.
Maybe it’s Half a Unicorn.
But the Hot ones that have tons of runway often set a price to the suitors that come by.
And just wait. And see who bites.
Follow this strategy at your peril if you aren’t Hot enough, however. Or don’t have enough runway.