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"Home Run" Insanity, but There are Perks

TheFunded.com Advice

Posted by Jon on 2009-01-20

Tags: Venture Business Crisis Economy

PUBLIC:

According to VentureWire, the number of venture investments in Q4 2008 fell to the lowest level since after the last crash, and the amount of money invested into the whole private equity sector halved from the same quarter last year. Many of the private equity investments being made are in "secondary funds," which buy distressed portfolio positions, so the story for the relatively small segment of venture capital is probably much worse.

The reality on the street for entrepreneurs raising money is brutal. Funds take meetings, but it's clear that they are not really making investments. With limited cash in the bank and limited prospects for raising more capital, it seems that all the good VCs are waiting for a "home run" opportunity to walk in the door and give them a 50% valuation haircut.

There is a silver lining. Deals perceived as being a "home run" have leverage. We just closed a later stage round after nearly a year of fundraising and pulled out over $1 MM for the founders, selling some of our equity. While our valuation was lower than we would like and the terms had some other unwanted teeth, when we threatened to walk, the deal was sweetened. Our traffic numbers are strong, so we had a few VCs coming to us with offers over the last couple months

From what I can gather, the VCs needs to justify making an investment in the current recession, so they have to issue less favorable terms. They can't explain the deal to their partners or investors otherwise. My advice would be to get as much exposure and traction as possible, have a few funds come to you, then target the best investor and negotiate the secondary perks more than the primary terms. Good luck!

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