222. Seed Crust: The Story So Far

VC Minute
The market conditions driving Seed have been building for the past few years. More Seed funds kept Seed isolated from the later stage problems... until now.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better

Click below to listen. 3m 59s duration.

Subscribe to your podcast platform of choice.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Google Podcasts
Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on Pocket Casts
Listen on Stitcher

This is Rich Maloy with SpringTime Ventures, bringing you the VC Minute, quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better. I want to spend this week sharing with you my latest market report. If you’re listening to this before May 2nd, you can sign up for the webinar where I will present the full report. And if it’s after May 2nd, still follow this link and that will give you access to the full report and the webinar, if you want to see that too. You can go to stvc.us/seedcrust.

Why seed crust? That is my perspective on the Seed market right now. There’s this crust over the top of the seed market or all the startups are circling around beneath it. So many startups struggle to break through that crust, to hit Series A and beyond. I’m going to cover the market forces that are driving this and how this all came about. So stick with me this week, and then send them to join us. Live on May 2nd at 11:00 AM Mountain time. That’s stvc.us/seedcrust.

But first I want to thank AVL Growth Partners for supporting the VC minute. AVL Growth provides fractional finance and accounting services to companies pivoting from growth to scale. Ready to elevate your financial game? Ready to elevate your company? Ready to move from growth to scale? Head to AVLgrowth.com and explore how they can be pivotal to your growth. The first thing that we should do is rewind and talk about the story so far. It’s December of 2021 and the market has been teetering on the edge. We were just starting to invest out of our second fund, and I was talking with one of the founders that we were about to invest in. He asked what our opinion was about what was coming down the line for the market. I said to him then that the thing that I was watching were the late-stage startups. The thing that I was worried about is thinking through the VC Treadmill. You raise your Seed, you raise your Seed 2, you raise your Series A, your B, your C, your D, eventually, you go public or you get acquired. If there are no exits, then there’s a backlog and that backlog starts to build through the system.

In Q1 2022, I released a report called “Pig in the Pipe” because we saw the first signs of this in the late stage at the end of Q1, 2022. Seed pre-money values were way up. Early stage pre-money values were way up, that’s A and B. And what ticked down pretty dramatically? Late-stage VC, C, and D values ticked down very significantly. What I was worried about was that there was so much money circling around in the Seed phase that Seed would continue to grow, build, and invest like nothing had ever happened. Only to hit the pig in the pipe at the Series A. Because the Series A startups can’t raise their Series B because the B’s can’t raise their C’s and the C’s can’t raise their D’s. And it all works its way back through the pipe.

That started to happen in early 2022. I was already talking to startups about how they should be adjusting their mindset for the new market. In a hot market, funds invest in more companies, faster. But when markets cool off and funds pull on two levers, they reduce the number of investments that they make and they slow down the pace of their investing. What I was worried about by late 2022 was what I was calling “HOT or NOT.” Your round was either hot or it was not. And everybody was going to try to cram into the hottest rounds. To those founders, it would feel like 2021 all over again. But to everybody else that are going to struggle to raise, they’ll be pulling in dribs and drabs, and they’ll be facing down rounds or VC favorable terms. And all of this has come to pass.

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

Visit the VC Minute homepage for more episodes and more ways to subscribe.

Picture of VCMinute

About Us

We are in the business of helping young companies grow through seed investment and access to our network of leaders and industry experts.  People first. 

Recent Posts

Sign up for our Newsletter