There is something about an established business model that is sometimes comforting even if innovation and change is often where more of the excitement lies.
And plenty of change is coming to venture capital fundraising.
It is worth reflecting on the seismic change the industry has undergone in the past decade as VCs raised about $60bn in new funds last year, according to data provider Preqin, but overall there were about $220bn in new deals done. The delta is because so-called non-traditional investors, such as corporations, governments, universities and family offices, are now making up probably the majority of capital invested. (One way to think of it is if a VC fund raises $100m it might look to invest half the commitments over two to three years and reserve about half for follow-on investments. That implies about 15-25% for new deals and maybe the same again for follow-ons each year for an established fund manager. So across a decade’s lifecycle if the VC funds raise less than $500m in aggregate but more than $1.37 trillion is invested in deals then the difference comes from those not using traditional fund structures, ie from being the primary source of capital to fast-growing private companies, VCs are now in the minority even if they are still successful at tapping into many of the highest-profile entrepreneurs.)
So VCs are branching out. From traditionally raising money from institutional limited partners, such as pension funds, banks and life assurers, the latest sweep of funds includes A/O PropTech, a company focused on investing in real estate startups, which launched with €250m in stock issuance from property groups, Oxx, a London- and Stockholm-based venture firm spun out from Amadeus Capital Partners, where British Patient Capital, a £2.5bn commercial subsidiary of the state-owned British Business Bank, provided a £25m cornerstone commitment, and Tuesday Capital, a US-based VC formerly known as CrunchFund from its relationship with data provider Crunchbase, signing up Frog Design, whose past clients include the headset maker Oculus (acquired by Facebook), Apple and Sony’s Walkman, as an LP in return for Tuesday owning stakes in eight companies formerly owned by Frog’s corporate venturing unit.
But despite the changes, many of the underlying business models for VCs remains one of trying to use other people’s money to pay the managers a healthy management fee and profit share on top. But as they become the minority pressure on VC fees could increase even here.