An insight on venture capital

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10/26/2009
Got the newsletter from 21 Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in Israeli-U.S. technology the other day. They're investors in analytics maker AgentVI. Here's what managing director David Anthony opened with:
According to a recent survey by the National Venture Capital Association, venture capitalists will invest far less in 2009 than the $30 billion invested by VC’s in 2008. Not surprisingly, venture capitalists are shifting away from seed and early stage investments and reducing their risk by investing in more mature companies i.e. companies with proven technology and sales. The Venture capitalists with whom I have spoken are in a “triage mode”- carefully assessing each company’s strengths and weaknesses and supporting only those companies likely to reach cash flow profitability in 12 months or less. The companies that survive in this market place will be those that succeed in recognizing the reality of reduced venture capital availability. In the past, companies depended upon multiple rounds of VC financing to support research and product development with barely a thought towards achieving cash flow profitability. This is no longer a viable business model. Companies must rapidly become cash-flow positive and those companies that do will attract investors and raise all of the capital they need to grow and prosper.
So, does that mean AgentVI is profitable? Does that mean that analytics companies that aren't profitable, and don't see profitability on the horizon, are going to be shutting down or selling in the near future? I sort of thought the worst of this was behind us, since the economy is clearly rebounding, but is it possible that some investors have actually learned some lessons? Later in the newsletter, Anthony tells Reuters this:
“We changed our strategy to making our companies cash flow positive as quickly as possible,” Anthony said, adding that 25 percent of his portfolio are cash flow positive with a number of others close. “We feel we can hold on to them and sell them in two years if there is a turnaround (in the economy).”
Is this consistent with the way most VCs are operating right now?