The following content is sponsored by Wells Fargo Asset Management.
Workplace Culture Enables Investment Firms to Do Better
In today’s highly competitive business environment, workplace culture is becoming increasingly recognized as a source of competitive advantage.
What does this mean for the investment industry, and how can asset managers use it to improve performance?
To find out, this infographic from Wells Fargo Asset Management explores the elements of a healthy culture, then shares four insights regarding the workplace of tomorrow.
The Top Cultural Edges to Develop
Workplace culture was gaining traction for several years prior to COVID-19, but after the disruptions experienced in 2020, its perceived importance has quickly escalated.
In light of this situation, the Thinking Ahead Institute, a non-profit dedicated to improving the efficacy of the investment industry, surveyed 27 asset managers on what they believe are the most important cultural edges to develop.
#1: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)
92% of respondents
DE&I was the top cultural priority by a wide margin, and it’s easy to see why given the industry’s well-documented lack of diversity. Boosting DE&I isn’t just about optics, however.
In a 2018 study, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) surveyed 1,700 companies globally to learn how diversity affected their performance. They found that firms with above-average diversity on their management teams reported average innovation revenue of 45%, while those with below-average diversity reported it to be about 26%.
62% of respondents
Asset managers frequently apply innovative techniques within (Read more...)
The pros and cons of choosing a placement agent for small funds
It would make life a lot easier for emerging managers if they could outsource the entire fundraising process. But can you?
Empirically, few small emerging investment managers hire placement agents, particularly in venture capital. And even the firms that hire a placement agent almost always still have to run their own internal process.
Homebrew doesn’t report hiring a placement agent for their Fund I, despite (or because of) a well-pedigreed team. Greycroft in 2010 also had an experienced team, but didn’t either. Instead, they hired an outside assistant – not a placement agent – to help in the process.
As Greycroft said in an essay: “Since we were a small fund, it would have been overwhelming to us and our small administrative staff to set up the meetings and follow ups, fill out questionnaires (which for the most part fall into a dark hole), and respond to the myriad of questions which occur during the due diligence process. Although not a placement agent charged with raising the money, this person was an important and critical member of the team and was a key factor in helping us to keep track of where we had been and where we were going – ‘If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium.’ ”
Greycroft’s results give you a sense of the complexity involved: The firm said it had 515 contacts with potential LPs; roughly 250 passed for various reasons and 100 were non-responsive. (Read more...)
Launching is easy; fundraising is harder. I’ve been fortunate to be a Partner at two different VC firms over the past 9 years, and we’ve grown AUM 10X both times. If you take the fifteen steps below, you’ll have the core of a high-performing fundraising and investor relations function.
- Build the firm as much as possible before you solicit limited partners.
The more baked you are, the more investable you are. The best possible move is to invest in and warehouse some special purpose vehicles that fit your strategy. However, that may distract you from the larger goal of raising a fund, not just a Special Purpose Vehicle.
The next best move is to build your core team, e.g., recruit an Advisory Board, Venture Partners, and EIRs. For ideas, see How Executives Can Work from Home with Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds.
Lastly, gather feedback. Yohei Nakajima, Founder of Untapped.vc, said, “Before pitching LPs and building my firm, I talked with over 50 people I knew to get feedback.”
- Set up the basic marketing toolkit: deck, website, accurate online databases, and social media accounts.
It’s virtually mandatory to develop a detailed, data-backed deck, and ideally a video pitch. Your materials should ideally meet the expectations of the Institutional Limited Partners Association, even if you’re not targeting institutions. Keep these documents constantly up to date, so all team members are aligned on key numbers, e.g., total dollars raised so far. You’ll look unprofessional if you’re not coordinated. For (Read more...)
This essay is part of a series on alternative VC:
I: Revenue-Based Investing: a new option for founders who care about control
II: Who are the major Revenue-Based Investing VCs?
III: Why are Revenue-Based VCs investing in so many women and underrepresented founders?
IV: Should your new VC fund use Revenue-Based Investing?
V: Should you raise venture capital from a traditional equity VC or a Revenue-Based Investing VC?
VI: Revenue-based financing: The next step for private equity and early-stage investment. This is a summary of: Revenue-Based financing: State of the Industry 2020.
VII: Flexible VC, a New Model for Companies Targeting Profitability
VIII: The Leading Flexible VCs, With Structures Between Equity and Revenue-Based Investing
Of the Inc. 5000 companies, only 6.5% raised money from VCs and 7.7% raised from angels. Where else can fast-growing companies get funding?
More and more startups are pursuing Revenue-Based VCs, but “RBI” doesn’t fit everyone. A new category of VCs have emerged offering a hybrid between VC and RBI, which we call “Flexible VC”.
From RBI, Flexible VCs borrow the ability to reap meaningful returns without demanding founders build for an exit. From traditional equity VC, Flexible VC borrows the option to pursue and reap the rewards of an outsized exit. Every Flexible VC structure allows founders to access immediate risk capital while preserving exit, growth (Read more...)