As we are seeing NextGen VCs giving rise to new micro-funds, the venture capital industry is experiencing a shift in momentum. With changing founder preferences in the pre-seed to Series A stage, a new lineage of venture capitalists are launching their own firms with contemporary hand on theses, offering founders much more than capital. Coinciding with said shifts, parallel transformations are also occurring with limited partners in these stages of venture capital.
What are Micro-funds?
Micro-funds are much smaller than usual venture capital funds and are typically below $30m and usually write checks anywhere from $25k-$500k. These new funds are being formed to cater to the monumental increase in the number of startups that are typically underserved in early stages (Seed to Pre-Seed) across the globe. We are seeing that they are often managed by specialized domain experts who have deep-rooted networks in a particular industry and are guided by a governing set of beliefs to improve the world via ethical means. Via their micro-funds, they develop a track record of success and build enduring VC firms.
Changing Market Conditions
Though the venture capital asset class is seeing increasing amounts of growth and investment, these statistics are largely a result of the spike in mega-deals seen in the later stages by large growth funds. Consequently, a gap still exists in the earlier seed stages of venture capital, where many founders and startups often get overlooked. So, though the asset class is thriving, the latter stages are dominating the industry, and the ‘top-heavy’ market imbalance is a contributing factor to the rise of micro VCs as well as NextGen VCs.
Simultaneously, a metamorphosis is occurring in early-stage venture capital LPs. While High Net Worth Individuals are discovering the many benefits of becoming LPs in Micro-funds and are transitioning away as full-time angel investors, Family Offices have increased their exposure to the asset class. UBS in their 2021 Global Family Office Report highlight that 61% of Family Offices now make venture capital investments as shown below and more are willing to invest in the early seed / pre-seed stages.
This is further contributing to the overall shift the industry is experiencing and giving a supplementary boost to the climate in which Micro-funds can flourish.
The Rise of Micro-funds
As discussed, the climate for both NextGen VCs and Micro-funds is becoming incredibly favorable. As smaller and leaner venture capital firms, NextGen venture capitalists and their unique theses to capture value, often in overlooked markets and categories is proving to be invaluable to founders. As well-connected domain experts, they are able to offer invaluable guidance to their portfolio companies. As such, much like a lean startup, they are disrupting traditional generalist VC firms and forming deep bonds with founders while offering pivotal hands-on guidance.
New Avenues of Funding
The disruption is creating tidal waves, so much so that a new breed of LPs is starting to emerge to cater to this new segment of VCs. Fund of Funds that specialize in micro VCs are emerging to specifically fund these NextGen VCs. Increasingly, new and emerging fund managers are becoming a compelling option for Limited Partners, due to their favorable terms as well as their superior performance. Statistically, top-tier new managers tend to outperform their existing counterpart fund managers and especially mega-funds. It is clear that a market opportunity exists for more specialized fund managers to enter the market and form micro-funds to cater to a niche market of founders, who are opting for a hands-on approach as opposed to undifferentiated capital.
At VC Lab we are seeing the many success stories of NextGen VCs and micro-fund managers fuel a new set of investors to launch their own enduring venture capital firms. We expect this trend to continue and provide a monumental shift in early-stage venture capital in the years to come and as champions of NextGen VCs, we welcome aspiring fund managers to join this movement.
This content is provided by VC Lab, the venture capital accelerator.
The free 16 week VC Lab program provides guidance, structure and a network to complete a fund closing in 6 months or less. Since mid 2020, VC Lab has helped launch over 100 venture capital firms around the world.