Louis Lehot’s take on Venture Capital’s state after a difficult year

Louis Lehot’s take on Venture Capital’s state after a difficult year

What is Venture Capital?

Venture capital (VC) represents a category of private equity financing extended to emerging startups and small businesses perceived to possess substantial long-term growth prospects. Typically sourced from affluent investors, investment banks, and financial institutions, venture capital goes beyond mere monetary support. This form of private equity funding targets early-stage companies displaying considerable potential for growth and revenue generation, promising lucrative returns. Emerging as a niche pursuit after World War II, venture capital has transformed into a sophisticated industry with diverse participants, which is pivotal in fostering innovation.

What is the state of Venture Capital in 2023

In 2023, the venture capital landscape witnessed a downturn in investments, with US venture capital firms experiencing a significant decline in fundraising. According to the Financial Times, the funds raised by these firms reached a six-year low, totaling $67 billion. This figure marks the lowest annual total since 2017 and reflects a substantial 60 percent decrease from the peak year of 2022, during which $173 billion was raised. Silicon Valley lawyer Louis Lehot commented on the same, stating:

“…the rooster came home to roost in 2023 as, you know, venture firms really had to pull back. We’ve seen a real decline in the number of new transactions, and the amount of capital that’s been deployed into venture capital, whether it’s tech or life sciences, whether you’re in Silicon Valley or in Boston. But we also saw some bright spots, you know, Silicon Valley and Boston truly are the centers of where venture capital remains… There is still plenty of capital dry powder that sits within venture capital and private equity funds to invest. So there’s a lot to be optimistic about. But it’s certainly been a rough time in 2023.”

This stagnation has given rise to various side effects, with numerous VC firms exercising increased caution when considering new investments. This has contributed to a perceived phase of inactivity in the industry.

Why is Louis Lehot optimistic about 2024?

However, during a webinar led by Bret Waters of 4thly Accelerator, Foley partners Louis Lehot and Julie-Anne Lutfi highlighted some optimistic trends for the future. They pointed out that the stabilization of interest rates is likely to attract investors back to the negotiating table. Additionally, advancements in generative artificial intelligence technology are expected to bring widespread benefits, and progress in climate technology continues to surge forward.

Ultimately, although 2023 proved challenging for venture capitalists and startups, 2024 holds the potential for a significant comeback. Many of these firms, equipped with ample resources, are poised to reignite their investments when the opportune moment arises.