How and when does the VC plan an exit for the startup they are backing?

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JASON LEMKIN

Rarely if ever do Sand Hill-style U.S. VCs search for a potential acquirer unless the company is failing. Because VC funds > $250m or so in sized really don’t want to sell for a long, long time if they believe they can double down on their winners instead.

VCs outside the Bay Area and U.S. and very small VC funds in Bay Area often have much lower “exit” expectations. Many VCs outside the U.S. assume an average $50m exit. In the Bay Area — bigger firms are optimized around the hope of $1b-$2b+ exits. Or higher.

If you are optimizing around $50m exits, you want to sell a lot of stuff whenever you can.

But if you optimizing on Unicorn Potential … then … bigger Bay Area VC firms mostly never want you to sell unless the offer in very large … or … the company is doing OK but never will be big and is burning a lot of cash … or … the company is truly failing.

For the latter scenarios, though, they have lots of Corp Dev and other relationships to work.

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Published on May 27, 2016
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