Being an entreprenuer

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Being an entreprenuer

Preemptive Rounds One of the biggest shifts of the last 6 months is the degree to which pre-emptive funding rounds have become the new normal in Silicon Valley. While pre-emptive rounds used to be reserved for celebrity or serial entrepreneur founders, they have recently become almost the default for a subset of companies.

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I have seen multiple seed companies receive pre-emptive series A fundings in the last few months without any specific milestones hit. Similarly, late stage companies like Bird have seen their valuations skyrocket in the course of months or even weeks.

Why all the fuss to pre-empt? Traditional venture rounds track progress In a typical venture financing the money is invested behind a big company milestone, or due to an ongoing business ramp. The later the round of funding, the more likely it is to reflect updated progress of a company hitting its user or revenue goals.

The investment was behind a team without a launched product. Instagram's February series A with Benchmark was in the mid millions market cap which reflected a rapidly scaling, but newly launched, consumer product that had just launched.

The launch of the product and early customer traction created a big step up in valuation from the seed round, which was an investment in a team. Future rounds for Instagram, had it not been bought by Facebook, would likely have tracked this exponential growth.

Preemptive rounds are investments without a catalyst In each financing round example above for Instagram, there was a clear change in progress or major milestone hit between rounds. In a pre-emptive round, there is no material change in progress between rounds.

Rather, the investor is so excited to invest, or believes the company valuation should be much higher than the last investment, that she is willing to push up the company valuation without any new progress or information. Bird's latest rounds is a good example of pre-emption. The trend to pre-emption is driven by a few factors: Outcomes are bigger then ever before.

Technology companies can now get bigger faster and reach billions of online customers faster then ever before. As outcomes get larger, a subset of later stage rounds remain attractive from a return or cash on cash multiple perspective.

Alongside outcomes that are bigger then ever, a few VCs also continued to re-up or invest large checks in companies they backed. Public successes like Sequoia with Whatsapp and A16Z with Github showed that doubling down on the same companies can lead to outsized returns.

This has led some venture funds to take the stance that they want to keep funding their winners the whole way, when before many funds stopped at the series B or C. With bigger funds two things happen: In other words, a "small check that gives you optionality" is quite large for a megafund.

Fewer high quality companies. The ratio of great to so-so companies has been on a negative slope from a qualitative perspective.

Being an entreprenuer

If you ask the average investor today what are the new break out companies few would have a long list. This is particularly true of consumer where investors will quickly throw money at anything with a heartbeat and a handful of teenaged users.

A lot of money is now chasing a few companies. Implications While some venture funds are pre-empting gracefully, others seem to be throwing money haphazardly at companies with the hope that if they pre-empt the next Uber, the other investments won't matter.The perception people have of your business when they hear your company name.

A business's image is composed of an infinite variety of facts, events, personal histories, advertising and goals that.

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I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than 30 years. It’s been a wild ride. I became an entrepreneur because the idea of working for someone else never sat well with me.

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Pros and Cons of Being an Entrepreneur