The Long Game (A VC)
You don’t hear about venture-backed companies founded in 1999 that are still private or operating at all. Companies like Netscape and Amazon went public in short order. Others like Pets.com crashed out of the race. Return Path took the path less traveled, surviving as a private company and 20 years later finally selling to another company.
One of their investors, Fred Wilson, penned a nice piece about the impact his involvement with this company has had on him. Matt Blumberg, Return Path’s CEO reflected on his journey as well. The 20-year mark this company hit shocked me. Uber just crossed the 10-year mark and the question of when that company was going public has caused investors so much angst, I don’t know what they would do with a company not exiting somehow for two decades.
This Seed-Stage VC Founder Sold His Entire First Fund At A 4x Profit. Will Others Follow? (Forbes)
Speaking of impatience, I found this story quite interesting. I hadn’t heard of VC firms selling off all of its stakes from a fund in order to satiate its limited partners (LPs). How does this impact a VCs perception among founders? Will they feel like they have an investor who is going to stick it through with them?
Late Stage Venture (Andreessen Horowitz)
I don’t mean to write about Andreessen Horowitz so much, but I find the firm fascinating. In this post, General Partner Scott Kupor announces two new funds and a shift in their strategy to be more specialized with each of their funds.
One of the new funds is focused on late stage venture, the language they prefer over growth stage. The explanation for why they’re calling this late stage venture seems to align with the trend of venture-backed companies pushing off exits.
I don’t know that I buy the argument that the fund will enable them to invest in companies with unusually large visions that need more time to see them come to fruition. I think about Genentech going 14 years before it hit a liquidity event. That company changed the life science game. Andreessen Horowitz has invested in some really interesting companies that are going after changing foundation realities of our world, but I wonder the extent to which their flashier portfolio companies suck out the attention those companies are able to get. Perhaps this dedicated fund will help with that.