While many accept that the current trajectory of the U.S. economy could be headed toward a recession, the subject of a “market bottom” has been on people’s minds.
It’s a common notion when talking about stock markets – peaks and valleys are the nature of the beast.
However, while it is inherently easier to track the movement on Wall Street, that is far from the only financial sector having discussions about market bottoms.
The landscape of private equity – and particularly early-stage startups – is asking similar questions.
And as any investor knows, if you can pinpoint the bottom, you’re set up for a best-case scenario on the eventual upswing.
Well, this past week, the 2022 Web Summit tech conference took place in Lisbon, Portugal. A prominent meeting of the minds in the tech industry, more than 70,000 showed up to attend – spanning CEOs, investors, and everything in between.
When the topic of a market bottom was broached with some of the foremost early-stage investors, valuable insights emerged…
There may be many who feel we’ve already arrived at the bottom. After all, investment in early-stage companies has fallen to two-year lows, median tech valuations were down 29% in Q3 compared to Q2, and late-stage valuations are down 50%.
However, the reality is that there are still a lot of startups sitting on reserves of cash from previous rounds of funding, when many valuations were inflated.
Many feel it won’t be until that runway evaporates that we reach the true bottom of the market for venture investment.
“There’s still a lot of private capital on the sidelines ready to invest in these companies,” Phillipe Botteri, partner of UK-based VC firm Accel, told Fortune, “but this capital is waiting for valuation[s] on the private side to still go down, and companies are waiting to grow into their valuation.
“So, at some point, supply is going to meet demand. My guess is that it’s going to happen next year – it’s gonna be probably slower at the beginning of the year. I think we will [look] much more active at the end of the year.”
Others in attendance point to early 2023 – late in Q1 or early in Q2 – as the point where they expect companies that need money will start raising again (at likely discounted valuations). While it might not represent a definitive bottom of the VC market at that point, those valuations will help inform those judgments.
One thing is for sure – as that aforementioned runway continues to run dry, we will find a bottom of the venture market.
Suffice to say, for savvy angel investors, the horizon is starting to look particularly fertile.
We’ll be sure to keep our antennas up as things develop – and, of course, keep you in the loop every step of the way.