Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Time For VCs To Start Pitching Startups?

Grier on Techdirt comments that some founders who opt not to take on VC financing can do quite well by bootstrapping. Indeed he is right. VC financing is expensive (liquidation preferences, etc) and takes a sizeable % ownership (not to mention strain to grow company faster than normal) chunk out of one's business. It certainly is not for everyone.

That said, it is important to note that many of the more capital intensive startups - the ones that command higher acquisition values - do require VC financing. There's a correlation between risk return to the amount raised and the dollar out. Topix and Bloglines were not acquired for hundred of millions of dollars. The companies that receive VC financing usually are the ones that are acquired for large chunks of money. VCs are hoping to hit 2 or 3 home run investments, which can return all the committed capital (and more) in a VC fund.

An example of this is Cisco's acquisition of Airespace for over $450M. Founder Hae Nahm and Storm Ventures, collectively, will pocket over $100M in a matter of 3 years. That is an impressive IRR to say the least. Compare this home run to the "triple" that Topix and Bloglines founders hit. Though the Topix and Bloglines founders made out, in relative terms, they did not hit an out of the ballpark home run.

2 examples of this include Liquidnet, where the founders and mgmt team grossed well over $100M, at least, in a sale to the later stage private equity companies. Liquidnet previously raised VC money from TH Lee and others. The second example is Webroot, whose founders cashed out from the first institutional round of money in - led by Accel

Also to note, the right VC partners (like good strategic partners) bring guidance, credibility, contacts (customers, bankers, other future financing) to the startups they back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating piece