Posts Tagged ‘Seqouia Capital.’

VC Industry Hits Headwinds: Creative Capital Gets Nod in San Jose Mercury News

May 19, 2008

The venture capital industry is clearly in transition. The old school business model of raising modest amounts money to invest primarily in early stage startups is giving way to a different industry that features larger funds and, perhaps, less risky investments in more capital-intensive businesses that are more mature.

Scott Harris, a reporter from the San Jose Mercury News, picked up on this trend and made it the major theme of his recap of the National Venture Capital Association Conference’s annual confab.

In the story, Harris focuses on the conference’s highlight: a conversation between the two most successful venture capitalists of the last decade–John Doerr from Kleiner Perkins and Mike Mortiz from Seqouia Capital.

In the middle of the story, yours truly shows up as an expert source, talking about the growing concerns in the VC business over the industry’s generally poor investment returns.

Successful companies are facing a longer path to the liquidity deal that enables VCs and LPs to realize the gains from their investment. “We’re all frustrated because the average time to liquidity for a venture-backed company is now seven years,” said Pascal Levensohn of San Francisco-based Levensohn Venture Partners.

“It’s not a crisis, but there’s tension,” said journalist Spencer Ante, who explored the history of the venture industry in his new book, “Creative Capital.” “A lot of money is getting raised, and a lot is getting invested. But what are you going to get out of that money? That’s the question.”

One final thought: As the older more mature funds wrestle with these challenges, what is equally interesting is the crop of new back-to-basics funds–such as Founders Fund, O’Reilly AlphaTech, and 406 Ventures–that have been cropping up over the last few years. These new funds may help fill the void in early stage investing.