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投资理财

一位首席执行官的融资经

Brian Halligan 2012年11月07日

HubSpot公司最近完成了一轮3500万美元的夹层融资,公司首席执行官回顾了这次融资的过程,总结了自己的融资经验。

    成长型股权投资市场已经今非昔比。过去是早期风投只做早期投资,后期风投只做后期投资,公开上市股票投资者只投资公开交易的股票。但最近,我在进行新一轮融资时惊奇地发现,如今似乎谁都在投资后期非上市公司。

    当然,这不是什么“官方”观点,但我在与不同类型的投资者接触后形成了这样的看法。

    1.拥有成长型股权基金的典型早期风投公司——比如,红杉(Sequoia)、Accel、General Catalyst、Redpoint和DFJ等等。他们通常会用新的团队设立新的基金,专注于投资后期公司。据我所知,他们提供的资金从1,500万至1亿美元不等,他们整体而言对估值相当敏感。他们通常想获得一个董事会席位,他们的知识、关系网和出身背景也确实可以增加很多价值——红杉曾经领投HubSpot最新一轮融资,历来在这方面出手不凡。

    2.后期风投基金——比如,Meritech、Adams Street、August、Norwest、 Tenaya、Questmark、SAP和DAG,等等。这些基金只做后期股权投资,据我所知,他们提供的资金在1,000万美元至4,000万美元之间。我认为,他们在估值方面没有传统的早期投资人那么敏感。他们通常在参与公司管理方面会保持一点距离,获得董事会观察员席位——他们似乎总是追随一流的早期投资者,依赖他们的建议和关系网。

    3.大手笔的后期风投基金——GA、TCV等等,似乎只做后期股权投资,投资金额在4,000万美元以上。我认为它们对估值相对敏感。但请注意,我的样本规模较小。看起来他们想获得董事会席位,参与企业管理——而且,他们可以提供很多价值。

    4.私募股权基金——TA、Summit等等,我对这些公司了解最少,但我的感觉是他们做后期投资,而且提供“大笔”资金。他们似乎热衷于全盘收购现有投资者的股权,注入一些经营资金以及提高负债。这种做法或许不错,但对于一家已经有很多风投资金的公司而言就很难奏效。我的感觉是,他们希望参与公司管理,能提供很多价值。

    5.公众基金——这一拨人是富达(Fidelity)、T. Rowe、Janus、Cross Creek/Wasatch、Altimeter、Tiger和摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)这样的投资者。他们依靠公众股权基金投资,单笔投资资金似乎1,000万美元以上,对估值略不敏感(我们稍后将讨论原因)。他们是财务投资者,不想过度介入,也就是说大多数情况下,不会要求获得董事席位或观察员席位。

公众投资者投资私营公司的惊人价值

    我们选择了公众基金——上述第五类——而非私募基金,是有三大原因。这三大原因对我们意义非凡,但对贵公司也许毫无意义。

    1.一家公司上市后,公众投资者倾向于增持这家公司的股票,而私募投资者往往会卖出原来所持股票。风投基金的激励体系就是这样,在所投资公司IPO后一个合理时间段后,他们将卖出股票,将利润分配给投资者。我的感觉是,IPO与风投投资者售股之间的时间差长短不一。公司状况越好,他们继续持有的可能性越大。不过,我觉得传统风投在公开市场上买入更多股票的情形相当罕见。需要指出的一点是,卖出与否并不是最重要的。

    Times have changed in the growth equity game. It used to be that early-stage venture folks just did early-stage investing, late-stage venture folks just did late stage investing, and public equity investors only invested in publicly traded stocks. What surprised me when raising new funding is that now, it seems like everybody invests in late-stage private companies.

    This is certainly not the "official" way to look at it, but here's the way I ended up bucketing types of investors in my own head.

    1.Typical Early Stage VC Firms with Growth Equity Funds – These are folks like Sequoia, Accel, General Catalyst, Redpoint, DFJ, etc., that have typically started new funds with new teams focused only on investing in late stage companies. They write checks from $15 million to $100 million as far as I can tell, and I think they're pretty valuation sensitive as a group. They usually want to take a board seat and can add a lot of value in terms of knowledge, connections, and pedigree -- Sequoia led HubSpot's last round and has been huge on those fronts.

    2.Late Stage VC Funds – Think Meritech, Adams Street, August, Norwest, Tenaya, Questmark, SAP, and DAG. These folks only do late-stage equity and write checks from $10 million to $40 million as far as I can tell. I think they are less valuation sensitive than the traditionally early stage folks. They are typically a bit more arms length in their level of involvement which often translates into a board observer seat -- they seem to follow-on the top tier early stage folks and rely on them for their advice and connections.

    3.Big Check Late Stage Funds – GA, TCV, etc. seem to only do late stage equity and write checks north of $40 million. I think they are relatively valuation sensitive, but keep in mind I only have a small sample size here. It seems they'll want a board seat and to be very involved – and they can add a lot of value.

    4.Private Equity Funds – TA, Summit, etc. are the types of firms I know the least about, but my sense is that these folks do late stage investing and write "biggish" checks. They seem to be wired to buy out existing investors, put in some working capital, and raise debt. This can be a great approach for a company, but it's probably hard to work for a firm that already has a lot of venture money in it. My sense is that they want to be involved and are value-add.

    5.Public Funds – The last bucket is folks like Fidelity, T. Rowe, Janus, Cross Creek/Wasatch, Altimeter, Tiger and Morgan Stanley. They invest out of public equity funds, seem to write checks from $10 million on up, and tend to be slightly less valuation sensitive (we'll talk about why below). They are financial investors and do not want to be overly involved, which means no board seats or observer seats for the most part.

The Surprising Value Of Public Investors Investing In Your Private Company

    We went with public funds -- #5 above -- not private funds for three main reasons that made a lot of sense for us, though they might not make sense for your company:

    1.Public investors tend to buy more of your shares after you go public, while private investors will typically look to sell their shares after you go public. The venture funds incentive system is set up such that they are supposed to sell the shares and distribute the profits to their investors after a reasonable time elapses following the IPO. My sense is that the period of time between when you go public and when they sell varies widely, and the better the firm's footing the more likely it is they will hold. Having said that, I think it's pretty rare that the traditional venture folks actually buy more in the public markets. It's important to note that this does not matter if your most likely outcome is a trade sale.

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