Hunter Walk has an interesting post up titled Why I Don’t Ask “Is This a Billion Dollar Business?” Before I Invest. In the post, he highlights an important element that I believe most entrepreneurs fail to understand when looking to raise money from VCs: VCs want to believe that they can return the value of the entire fund on a single investment.
Most of the time, when asking entrepreneurs what VCs want, you get the standard response that VCs want to make money. Yes, they want to make money, as do all investors, but they don’t want to make a 20% or 50% return on capital. The goal is to make an investment that generates a 10x or 20x return. Assuming the capital invested was less than 10% of the fund, a 10x or 20x outcome will return the entire fund.
This goal is especially true with smaller funds, which are more and more common. For larger funds, a standard minimum bar is to have an investment return at least 10% of the committed capital (see Ask Prospective Investors About the Ideal Exit). So, if it’s a $200 million fund, the VCs representing the fund would want an exit that returns at least $20 million in cash to the limited partners.
Overall, VC and entrepreneur exit goals often don’t align — remember to set expectations before taking money.
What else? What are some other thoughts around VC expectations being different from entrepreneur expectations?