Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dealbook - Another View: V.C. Investing Not Dead, Just Different

"The sum and substance of all of these developments is that the minimum economic level to bring a company public today is at least a $50 million offering at a $250 million market value. With realism back in the market and a return to rational metrics, like multiples of revenues and, better yet, profits, venture capitalists have had to face the hard reality that it is highly unlikely that taking a company from start-up to a point where it can justify this type of market capitalization in a three-, five- and even seven-year time frame is realistic, except in a limited number of situations.

For these reasons, I believe that the paradigm has changed for the venture business. We can no longer realistically expect the same kinds of absolute returns that were achieved in the past through a quick turnaround from start-up to liquidity through an I.P.O. Rather, I believe that most of the companies that venture capitalists are funding today will find an exit through merger or acquisition. And if we expect to achieve a return in a reasonable time frame of three to five years, we are probably looking at a sale price of $20 million to $100 million. This is the valuation range where most young companies are being acquired."

"To compensate for these lower gross return expectations, we must establish initial valuations, usually in the single digits, that can provide an adequate multiple return and internal rate of return. Inevitably, this suggests that a true venture capital firm should be reverting to smaller-scale funds and restricting individual investments in early-stage companies to accommodate the realities of the exit opportunity. Larger funds can focus on later-stage growth opportunities that can absorb greater amounts of capital where there still exists the possibility of taking companies public in a timely manner."


Anonymous said...

getting long debt. can't trust equity markets these days w/ dividends essentially going away....that and stashing my cash underneath my bed

QUIX-3D "TRIPELLO" said...

(All of this) Depends a lot:-
On the structure within the industry ...
As well (also) "upon":-
Pre-existance of IP said
Start_Up Company,
&/or SME already HAS...
(in it's Name, & Control)

Including, but not limited to:-
ALSO having the original inventor.
(as Owner/Operator/R&D Expert),

Whom is thus already (there)
Within said "StartUp" Company.

Especially where that Innovator prefers
to stay IN the said Company
(at, & after, ANY aquisition...)

Even if this is only...
In a minority Management_Position,
(such as Head of the R&D Section)

The above is just the thoughts of:-
A New Zealand SME Businessman
(Patented Innovation/ Inventor)

Whom just happens to HAVE
... all the above ...
Within & Part_of his (NZ) SME.

And whom not only is a "KIWI"
But is someone with a flair...
? for the unusual ?

Keith Clare