Specialization and Other Trends We’re Watching at RAISE

We’re making our final preparations for the 2nd annual RAISE Conference, and I’m truly excited about the content and the network we’re bringing together again in this unique collaborative forum.

The market continues to be ripe for fund entrepreneurship. Technology is allowing companies to scale more quickly, more cheaply, and in a wider range of locations, changing the investment needs of startups and creating a wealth of opportunities for smaller, more focused funds.  Furthermore, the success of trailblazing funds like Floodgate, First Round, Baseline and SoftechVC have left LPs looking for the next great new manager.

In fact, according to a detailed study by a former skeptic, Cambridge Associates, new and emerging firms accounted for 40-70% of the value creation in the top 100 venture investments over the past decade, with funds of less than $250 million accounting for an average of 20% of total gains.

Who is driving the next wave of emerging funds? In some cases, principals and partners at existing firms have spun out and started their own firms, creating smaller, specialized funds or focusing on particular market sub-sectors in which to carve out a niche. We’re also seeing prolific angels, operators of AngelList syndicates, experienced operators, and other entrepreneurs develop new types of fund concepts and approaches.

We’ll hear from a wide spectrum of fund entrepreneurs at this year’s RAISE Conference to learn about their strategies for success, and address the core foundational questions that all fund entrepreneurs face:

  • How can I build a strong base of investors?
  • What fundraising strategies are working right now?
  • How can I accelerate the growth of my firm?
  • How do I build a firm that lasts?

We’ve assembled an elite group of panelists and presenters to tackle these questions and bring us up-to-date on developments in the industry over the past year.

We’ve also expanded our “Springboard” track this year, which is a demo day for emerging managers. We’ll hear from 30 emerging managers who are currently in market to share 5-minute presentations on their team, their strategy, and their track record. For LPs, this day is an incredibly effective use of time to quickly see some of the most interesting new funds that are coming up.

We’re excited by the quality of the presenters; many of the funds already have one unicorn in their investment track record and quite a few impressive exits. We also have a number of exciting sector-specific funds on the agenda, including Artificial Intelligence, Urban Innovation, and Sustainability. We’re looking forward to hearing from them and learning what new trends are emerging.

Many more insights to come. See you in the Presidio!

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