I listened to someone share an interesting way to think about start-up investments. This person is helping a seed-stage investor rethink their evaluation process, which included considering how big the company could be if things went well. Could this be a billion-dollar company that returns the fund, or would it max out at something smaller? They modified their approach to think about near-term probabilities. Specifically, what’s the probability that the company will raise a Series A? The logic behind this change was that most companies wouldn’t exit for more than $1 billion without raising a Series A, so why not focus on evaluating this?
It’s an interesting approach that got me thinking. The likelihood of a company raising capital from a later-stage investor is something that it’s good to be mindful of. Thinking about the probability of this happening could produce useful insights.
In the last two years, many early-stage companies raised at high valuations by historical standards. I remember seeing a seed-stage company raising at a $100-million-dollar valuation. Given these high valuations early in their life cycle, I’m wondering, what are the probabilities of these companies raising clean Series A rounds?