2019 US VC funds take a extra boutique strategy – TechCrunch

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Over the previous yr, we’ve written rather a lot in regards to the rise of supergiant enterprise capital funds. Ever because the rollout of the $100 billion SoftBank Imaginative and prescient Fund, established VCs have been outdoing one another to boost ever-bigger funds.

However let’s not write the epitaph on smaller funds. U.S. enterprise fundraising knowledge for 2019 reveals numerous smaller, extra centered funds closing on capital. Newcomers are rolling out recent early-stage funds, and even established VCs are opting in lots of circumstances to maintain fund dimension fixed or perhaps a bit smaller.

The inflow of small and mid-sized funds serves as a reminder that supergiant funds are considerably of an aberration for the enterprise capital business. Whereas VCs compete to again massively scalable startups, the frequent knowledge is the enterprise capital business itself doesn’t scale particularly effectively. Including extra capital to the pot, the pondering goes, possible does extra to inflate valuations than foster nice corporations.

Silicon Valley stalwart Kleiner Perkins is among the many newest to hop on the smaller-is-better bandwagon. Three weeks in the past, the 47-year-old agency closed on $600 million for its eighteenth flagship fund, touting a plan to go “again to the long run” and concentrate on early-stage with the philosophy that “enterprise is a non-scalable, boutique craft.”

After all, $600 million is certainly not a tiny fund. And Kleiner’s most outstanding growth-stage funding companion, Mary Meeker, did simply go away to start out her personal agency. Nonetheless, it’s a step down from Kleiner’s final main fundraise in 2016, which introduced in $1.four billion for a growth-stage automobile and an early-stage fund.

In the meantime, Crunchbase fundraising knowledge exhibits loads of U.S. funds of $200 million or much less closing in 2019, in addition to a number of extra which can be apparently nonetheless in fundraising mode. To this point, billion-dollar-plus funds are fairly scarce.

Beneath, we check out the enterprise fund Class of 2019, together with newcomers, in addition to follow-on funds from established companies. We additionally concentrate on rising stars, newer companies which have raised bigger new funds.


Regardless of what number of present enterprise companies are out chasing startups, there’s all the time a distinct segment that some newcomer will determine as underserved. To this point, 2019 has been no exception.

No less than 5 U.S enterprise companies have introduced closings on their inaugural funds this yr.1

Most likely the very best profile new entrant this yr is from an already well-known Silicon Valley investor, Steve Jurvetson, founder and former managing companion of the 34-year-old VC agency DFJ. Jurvetson closed on $200 million this month for Future Ventures, which is able to concentrate on early-stage offers in areas together with area exploration, quantum computing, AI and artificial biology.

One other noteworthy newcomer is Motley Idiot Ventures, which is an early-stage, tech-focused enterprise fund tied to The Motley Idiot funding platform. In a twist on the standard VC mannequin of elevating capital from massive institutional traders, contributors to the $146 million fund are primarily Motley Idiot members.


Largest funds

Established VCs have been elevating recent money, too. To this point this yr, we haven’t seen a pure-play enterprise capital agency shut a U.S. fund of a billion dollars or extra.2 Nevertheless, we’ve got seen a lot of fairly large funds from well-known VCs.

Final week, Menlo Ventures, a longstanding Valley agency that led one in all Uber’s early-stage rounds, closed on $500 million for its first Inflection Fund, which is able to concentrate on early growth-stage startups.

And on the biotech entrance, California-based 5AM Ventures proved the early-stage hen can get the follow-on funding, elevating $500 million throughout two new funds. And on the East Coast, Boston-based MPM Capital closed on $400 million for its seventh flagship fund.

Rising stars

To this point this yr, we’ve additionally seen a lot of comparatively new enterprise capital companies elevate upsized follow-on funds. By comparatively new, we typically imply companies that closed their first fund lower than 5 years in the past.

Sometimes, after we see a agency elevating a bigger or stable-sized follow-on fund, it signifies a rising star. It normally signifies that their present portfolio has seen some successes, and traders are optimistic about future prospects.

Edtech investor Owl Ventures meets this standards. The five-year-old agency closed on $316 million for its third flagship fund this yr. To this point, San Francisco-based Owl has invested in no less than 24 corporations, with a few exits and a lot of up-rounds below its belt.

Enthusiasm for the cybersecurity area boosted the fortunes of one other agency on our rising star listing, TenEleven Ventures. The five-year-old, Silicon Valley-based enterprise agency closed on $200 million for its second early-stage fund this month.

Fundraising mode

Clearly, not everybody can elevate a billion-dollar enterprise capital fund. And never everybody desires to. For early-stage particularly, the longstanding observe of elevating smaller and mid-sized funds is alive and effectively.

That mentioned, a pair months of fundraising knowledge doesn’t essentially point out a long-term pattern. We might see a string of billion-dollar-plus funds closing within the subsequent few weeks. Or not.

For now, nevertheless, it appears to be like like strain to change into the following SoftBank has ebbed some, with unicorn-chasing giants carving out their area of interest and smaller funds eyeing different alternatives.


We centered on U.S.-based companies elevating funds that make investments in U.S. corporations. This doesn’t embrace, as an illustration, a Silicon Valley-headquartered agency elevating a China-focused fund.

We additionally didn’t embrace Spark Capital, which has submitted securities filings laying out plans to boost a $400 million sixth flagship fund and an $800 million growth-stage fund. The New York and Boston-based agency, identified for its early investments in Twitter, Slack, Coinbase and different unicorns, is broadly anticipated to fulfill or exceed its fundraising objectives, nevertheless it has not but formally closed the funds.

The information set contains companies that closed new funds this yr, however many have already made a lot of investments thus far. There have been extra companies that submitted SEC filings indicating plans to boost new funds. We restricted the listing to companies that disclosed closing on capital.
The information set didn’t embrace TCV, a agency that closed a $three.2 billion flagship in January. It is because though TCV does again some venture-stage offers, it’s primarily a growth-stage investor and likewise buys stakes in public corporations.

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