A slightly non-obvious one is the need to invest in the types of companies that follow-on capital will want to invest in.

Even if any early-stage VC wants to be daring, or invest in a broken category, or an unproven category, or an overly crowded category … you have to be worried about who will write the next check.

It’s still just a risk, and:

  • If the company can get to profitability on the current round of capital, this risk is mitigated. But this isn’t that common with venture-backed start-ups.
  • If the fund is large enough to “carry” the company through the next rounds, the risk is mitigated as well. To some extent.
  • And if the fund can bring in nontraditional sources of capital, or believes those will be attracted to the startup, that can mitigate the risk.

But smaller and mid-sized funds spend a lot of time thinking about who will write the next round check (Series B, C, D, etc.). If they don’t believe someone will, they get worried.

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