What the Economy Means for Media Investment

Investors here at the AlwaysOn media conference have been confirming in private discussions and on stage what angel investor David Rose said recently: that their money is having to stretch farther, that others are reluctant to come into the rounds as early.

One venture capital investor also told me he’s seeing “A Series pricing” for B and C rounds, meaning that people investing even later in a company’s life cycle are able to, for their money, get a larger share of the equity. For example, instead of getting 15 percent of the company, they’re able to get a fifth of it, he said.

But in a sign of optimism, another, based in Silicon Valley, said that funds of money that were raised 1-2 years ago are still uninvested, so they will need soon to find something to invest in in the next few months.

Later, on a panel about later-stage venture capital investment, Alan Spoon, Managing General Partner of Polaris Venture Partners, said he was seeing more funds looking to others for liquidity, trying to shore up balance sheets and less interested in such calculations as ROI (return on investment -- which in the financial world is a more specific ratio than often gets thrown around in advertising) and IRR, another ratio that figures out the internal rate of return -- how much a company is supposed to be able to earn from the money it has.

The pressures on the markets are making hedge funds and mutual funds get out of the venture game, the panelists also said, and money is being lent and companies being valued at much lower valuations than before the bust.

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