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Sunday, January 14, 2024

Countdown Capital winding down shouldn’t be a foul omen for micro funds

Final week, my colleague Aria Alamalhodaei wrote an unique on protection and area tech enterprise agency Countdown Capital’s plan to close down. Jai Malik, the founding father of Countdown, mentioned in a letter to his LPs that on account of how aggressive the commercial tech sector has change into, he’s now not assured about smaller enterprise corporations’ means to safe the significant stakes in startups they’d want to provide worthwhile returns.

As Aria wrote, the letter reads like a chilly glass of water to the face. Whereas winding down the fund is a mature transfer — GPs have a fiduciary responsibility to their LPs, in any case — the information doesn’t assist the rising scuttlebutt within the VC world that almost all micro funds can’t survive outdoors of a bull market like 2021’s.

However Countdown shutting down is probably going extra of an remoted occasion than an indication of what’s to come back for micro funds this 12 months.

After I spoke with Malik again in 2022 concerning the launch of this very fund, he mentioned that Countdown was created to fill a void within the protection sector. His logic was that whereas bigger corporations like Andreessen Horowitz and Lux have been serious about backing startups on the Collection A stage and later, nobody needed to jot down the primary small checks startups must get going.

That’s modified as we speak, and it isn’t stunning given the sheer quantity of capital it takes to get protection startups off the bottom; the prices are incomparable to a class like SaaS.

That is additionally why Countdown’s destiny doesn’t portend cloudy skies for micro funds in different classes. A micro fund supervisor within the AI area, for instance, instructed me that regardless of how lively AI has gotten during the last 12 months, the elevated curiosity truly hasn’t made a fabric distinction in pricing on the pre-seed stage the place their fund invests. So regardless of the class heating up, a $500,000 verify can nonetheless web a agency significant possession on the pre-seed stage, they mentioned.

In VC, measurement does matter

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