The opportunity that is being created in the secondary markets to involve large investment banks with later stage companies is intriguing and potentially adds an “extra layer of opportunity” for many startups to grow into their full potential, venture capitalist Ryan Swagar, managing partner at Venture51, told VentureBeat today.
Traditionally large-scale, bulge bracket banks stay on the sidelines for tech investments until they are sure they understand the business model and can make a profit.
But new federal rules about how they can make money without ties to hedge funds or their proprietary trading desks have put pressure on them to find new sources of income.
“It also potentially creates another avenue of liquidity for founders and early investors,” added Swagar. “If executed correctly, and carefully, the big banks and secondary markets could create more opportunity and add additional capital to the tech ecosystem.”
Venture51 has a total fund size of $20 million, and it said it intends to invest $50,000 to $500,000 each to a group of handpicked early-stage companies over the next five years.
It currently has an active portfolio of more than seven companies across technology, Internet, media, consumer and business services, including EcoMom, Life360, WebMynd, DailyWorth, eToro, Graphic.ly and InboxQ.
But with so many companies scrambling to get in on the next hot thing in tech, too often VCs skim over their due diligence and forget that improving access is a significant key to any startup’s success, said Swagar.
Venture51’s first fund investment was in well-known angel investor Howard Lindzon’s Social Leverage portfolio, which includes a variety of seed-stage companies and has a history of picking winning exits.
Brandon Zeuner, another managing partner at Venture51, said that right now, “We lean towards agreeing with Reid Hoffman and Ben Horowitz, [that] ‘It’s a boom and not a bubble.’”