By Bunmi Olayanju MBA CFA
While the headlines have been awash with talk of a venture capital winter, it’s crucial to understand that it’s merely a season, not a barren period. The data shows that while the pace of fundraising might have decelerated in the past year and a half, there’s still a robust ecosystem of deals being struck across stages. For founders who can present their businesses credibly and compellingly, now could be an opportune time to secure the capital they need.
Let’s delve into why the current fundraising climate holds promise:
Abundance of Dry Powder: Latest data from Q1 2023 shows VC firms in the U.S. sitting on a staggering $303B in uninvested capital, a figure nearly double that of pre-pandemic levels. This reservoir indicates there’s ample capital seeking worthy ventures.
Momentum-driven Investments: After a period of caution, investors are eager to finish the year on a strong note or begin the new one with vigor. Given that VC earnings are closely tied to the multiples on their invested capital, there remains a consistent interest in bankrolling promising startups. Angellist’s Q3 2023 data underscores this, revealing a notable uptick in investment activity.
Favorable Valuations: Recent trends show startup valuations undergoing a correction, reaching some of the most investor-friendly levels in recent history. Lower valuations allow investors to reduce their investment costs, making their desired returns more achievable. Q3 2023 reports from AngelList and Carta suggest that median valuations remained consistent or even edged higher across venture stages compared to the preceding quarter. Furthermore, AngelList’s Q3 VC report points out that valuations, particularly in the early stages, might have hit a floor, offering a potential uptick in the near future. For investors, this presents a lucrative window to enter before valuations surge.
The Angel Impact: Angel investors, especially in the early stages, have become indispensable. Data from Carta highlights that checks amounting to less than $25,000 constituted between 31% and 59% of all pre-seed capital raised in the first half of 2023. This engagement level is poised to rise with the sizable accredited investor base in the US and the increasing adoption of angel special purpose vehicles (SPVs), which offer a simplified and efficient medium for angels to pool resources and back startups collectively.
In conclusion, while cyclical downturns in venture capital can create an atmosphere of apprehension, they often conceal underlying opportunities. The current climate, with its abundance of uninvested capital, investor eagerness to achieve momentum, attractive valuations, and the significant role of angel investors, makes a compelling case for founders to actively pursue their fundraising initiatives. Armed with the right strategy and a clear understanding of the evolving investment landscape, founders can effectively navigate this VC winter, turning prevailing challenges into unparalleled opportunities.
Bunmi Olayanju MBA CFA is a finance expert and investor. Visit here to learn more about him