Friday, October 10, 2008

Sequoia Puts the Fear of God into their Portfolio Companies

The message: conserve capital over gaining market share, move your sales force compensation from base to variable, and do whatever is necessary to get to cash flow positive state. Everyone post-seed stage is in trouble and many will get cut from VC portfolios over the next year. Tech will be seeing lots of layoffs. The change in the economic picture may last for next 15-17 years. Deliver sales or die.

Hold on to your hats. The next wave is going to be a big one. I don't believe that this is the best message for the portfolio companies from a strategic standpoint (extreme cost cutting will wreck the long-term value of a lot of these companies). Instead, this is a strongly worded warning that the VCs are going to cut the portfolios themselves, and demand a clear path to positive cash flow.

The other impact of the credit freeze: the theta for the VCs just got a whole lot shorter, and with the decline of the LBO, the exits are closed for the time being.

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