Tag Archives: venture capital

Why VC Firms Aren’t Spending

Todd CroslandIt is no secret that startup funding has significantly decreased since the start of the new year. This was foreshadowed at the end of 2015, in which startup funding slowed down, and new companies were given smaller and smaller investments from venture capital firms. This morphed into a disappointing, and somewhat frightening, beginning of the year for early stage companies. However, the new startups do not lack funding because venture capital firms are raising less. In fact, venture capital firms seem to be doing fine in terms of the money they are accumulating. It turns out that the root of the lack of funding lies in what venture capital firms are now seeking in a startup company.

It turns out that venture capital firms have begun to accumulate a large amount of money because of the lack of faith in the startup companies with which they are connected. They are worried the companies they have put money into will crash and lose money, and they want to be prepared for this point. Although some companies have come to terms with the drying up of funding, and are responding accordingly, most are living in a state of denial. This is why venture capital firms are basically hoarding their funds.

It is all a result of the startup funding boom that occurred over the past few years, in which early stage companies were able to raise massive amounts of money and spend most of it in attempts to beat out others. With this lack of funding, they are faced with the choice to cut costs in order to be a self-sustaining company, or try to find more funding. The latter comes at a large cost and could be detrimental to earlier investors and employees that already have a share in the company.

What are venture capital firms looking for if not potentially successful companies in their early stage? As it turns out, these firms are choosing to spend their money on already-established startup companies. Companies that have already experienced some level of success are the ones being funded at this point, although the funding is still moderate. Venture capital firms are operating with the fear that startup companies in which they invest are going to collapse. Therefore, they are putting more investments into the ones they know will not.

Early stage startup companies can no longer be extravagant operations. Founders and CEOs have to get into the habit of cutting costs wherever they can, becoming a self-supporting operation as soon as they can. Startups can no longer count on venture capital firms for funding, so, until this lull blows over, all companies have to adapt.

Venture Capital Firms Bring in Money

Todd Crosland EntrepreneurshipVenture Capital firms have been in existence for years, yet they do not always bring in as much money as they would hope. This year, however, is different. Since 2016 began, these types of firms have been able to collect money at a rate greater than they have in fifteen years. More surprisingly, they are managing this feat even as the valuation of many startups begins to drop. Even as ‘unicorn’ startups become less enchanting in Venture Capital, investors are still reaping rewards.

Venture Capital firms have been able to raise over ten billion dollars since the beginning of the new year, at an astonishing rate. It turns out, while investments in startups are slowing, investments in Venture Capital firms are not. Of course, this was predicted last year. When polled, the majority investors in these funds announced that they would continue to match or increase the amount of money they were giving to firms. The firms, however, are the reason startups are having more trouble raising money.

Why is this, exactly? Well, IPOs did not have a good year in 2015. The market was unpredictable, and new companies focused on technology were not as impressive as they have been in previous years. The Venture Capital firms have chosen to dole out money more slowly because startup valuation keeps going down. They are simply not sure which companies are going to make money, and which will remain stagnant or fail. Entrepreneurs who take the billions in Venture Capital raised as a good sign must keep this in mind.

Venture Capital firms that are amassing this money have a few options for where to go from here. They seem to have given up on pouring money into late-stage startups, but may continue to focus on early-stage companies. At least early-stage investments have the ability to give investors a portion of return, therefore this may be the most viable option for Venture Capital firms.

However, this also calls into question how this will affect the slowing entrepreneurial boom in the United States. Of course, if Venture Capital firms choose to invest in early-stage startups, fresh faces in the startup world need not worry. However, that leaves later-stage startups out to dry. If the funding continues to shrink for these late-stage companies, which I suspect it will, we may see an increase in startups trying to exit more quickly than they would normally, or than others have in the past.

Now, entrepreneurs must focus on generating a positive cash flow. This is the only way to make sure that startup companies stay afloat, which may bring in additional funding along the way.

Equity Crowdfunding Legal in 2016

On May 16, 2016, Equity Crowdfunding for non-accredited investors will become legal. This was, of course, a part of the JOBS act that was passed in April of 2012, but the equity crowdfunding provision has been on hold and in debate for over three years. The Securities and Exchange Commission published extra regulations that finally got the provision passed.

This equity crowdfunding provision, also known as Title III, was in debate for such a long time because of the fear that it could invite more fraud. Title III, in its simplest form, is a provision that allows non-accredited investors into equity crowdfunding. Basically, the average Joe will now have the ability to invest in a young company. Title III was initially thought of as a way to keep up the incredible equity crowdfunding growth rate that has been seen for the past five years and now, with its implementation, this growth rate may even get larger.

Of course, there will be regulations. Title III is being implemented through broker-dealers and internet portals specifically designed to host public offerings. This means that anyone can invest in a company, but there is less of a chance of fraud and illegal activity. Additionally, there are limits on the amount of money that can be raised through one investor, which depends on the income of each individual investor. There are also limits on the amount of money that a company can raise through these portals within a 12 month period.

The companies raising money are required to submit detailed answers to investment questions before accepting any offers. This includes, among other items, the risk of investing in their company. There are many other requirements the startups must meet, and questions they must answer, before entering these secure channels to accept investments. However, the payoff in the end will be much greater, as now there is a wider population from which to accept investments.

Title III is a great way for new companies to find investors. It allows companies to advertise their offerings to the public, which was before illegal, and to freely discuss business with investors through secure portals. Although there is dissent, I believe that the implementation of Title III will do great things to the startup investment space. Although the significant regulations imposed on companies within Title III could be a barrier to progress, this provision will surely help more startups become successful.

For more information on the passing of Title III, read this article on Mondaq.

Startup Environment in Southeast Asia

Todd Crosland Asian EntrepreneurshipAccording to The Establishment Post, South East Asia is being called the next Silicon Valley with its innovative and unique features that differentiate it from the startup industry in the United States. GGV, or Golden Gates Ventures, is one of the six venture capital companies that have been entrusted by the Singaporean government and private sector to aid in the development of their emerging startup industry.

Vinnie Lauria, founder of GGV, claims that the entrepreneurial startup scene in Southeast Asia differs from the US startup scenes in that it is comprised of locals creating products for locals.

Lauria gives us an example of the commuting service startup, GO-Jek, as a company that is innovating for the local people. 90% of Indonesians do not use credit cards, so Go-Jek offers an immediate currier service for locals who opt for their cash-on-delivery service to obtain materials purchased online. The company is meeting the demand for a delivery middleman, creating a more convenient e-commerce environment for the people of Indonesia.

This intrinsic Asian entrepreneurial way of thinking has opened up a more Asia-focused startup industry that sets the startup scene in Asia apart from Silicon Valley. The government is a bit of a roadblock for many Asian countries, but the Singaporean government has allowed for $100 million of investment in the form of six venture capital firms. This will allow for more startups to come out of the woodwork, considering the difficulties of obtaining series A investments.

Lauria points out that along with government involvement, more awareness needs to develop to bluster the Asian startup scene. Lawyers and business developers are needed in Asia who can truly complete these companies and make them attractive for global investors in the long run. The Asian startup scene certainly does not have the extensive entrepreneurial experience as in the United States; however, the starting blocks are coming to fruition. Once the entrepreneurs are able to create a startup environment for their own people, they will be able to look at their companies from a more global perspective.

Latin America Seeing an Increased in Entrepreneurship

Todd Crosland Latin American EntrepreneurshipA recent Forbes article discussed the recent raise in entrepreneurship in Latin America. The article goes on to describe what exactly makes up an entrepreneurial society: a growth in the tech industry, centralized focus on entrepreneurs, and government subsidies on small business initiatives. In this day and age, many countries crave these qualities. In Latin America, the whole startup industry is quite new and the private entrepreneurial development company, Endeavor Global is trying to change that around.

Endeavor Global is a company that has gathered successful entrepreneurs from all over Latin America to act as a support network for emerging startups in the country. Latin America’s biggest concerns regarding entrepreneurship are a lack of leadership and financing. Endeavor Global has been able to address both issues with their professional network and venture capital firm, Kaszek, which sprung up from the Endeavor Global network.

This initiative has increased the number of successful businesses aiming towards lower levels of income, which is what Latin America needs. Online use in Latin America is expected in increase by 50% in the next five years. Many of these successful companies coming out of the woodwork are online service companies that are focusing on providing services to the hard working, middle class. Thus, companies in online retail are starting to emerge so services are more easily accessible. International credit cards are still not going to be accessible in Latin America for a while, so there are multiple companies focusing on different online payment methods for the country.

Overtime, as the entrepreneurial bubble grows, more and more mentors will be joining Latin America’s professional network to guide the future startup businesses. What Latin America is more concerned with is financing. There are plenty of crowd-funding services that provide initial seed investment, but venture capital is still the main area of focus when it comes to financing in Latin America.

You can read more about the rising entrepreneurship industry in Latin America in the Forbes article here.