On the Bleeding Edge: 2017 wrap up, Saling exits Menlo, Arena update and other venture musings

You may have noticed the multiple articles on VCJ lately marked “Year in Review.” This includes Kaitlyn Bartley‘s look back at the venture-backed startups that went belly up in 2017. Spoiler: It was a bad year for expensive smart-beverage appliances, like Juicero. I also took a look back at the year and wrote how many firms added a female GP for the first time or promoted women within, to correct the gender imbalance, what Kate Mitchell calls a “positive development.”

We have more planned in the next couple of weeks, including, next week, my timeline of key events that happened each month during 2017. We also will dive deep into the investing world this past year. Here’s a preview: 2017 has already added up to a big year for venture investing, thanks to a few megadeals and new investors, but exits did not keep pace with the money flooding into the asset class.

Jenny Saling is exiting Menlo Ventures at year-end. After 16 years of bleeding Menlo orange, Saling is leaving the firm, where she has led the marketing strategy. Saling told me she plans to take a sabbatical and travel in the new year before settling on her next gig. This year, Menlo raised $450 million for its 14th fund, opened a San Francisco office and added Greg Yap as a partner to lead investments in life-science companies.

I heard a couple of rumors about changes occurring at Arena Ventures, so I contacted Founder and General Partner Paige Craig. Craig is a Marine vet in addition to having been an angel investor for several years, including backing for Lyft, AngelList, Postmates and Twitter, among others. Craig said he’s communicating changes to his LPs, but basically he’s telling them that “the market was frothy and we were going to slow down on seed and returned capital dedicated for new seed deals only.” He emphasized he’s not shutting down Arena Ventures.

This is my final column of 2017. So I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe over the holidays and I look forward to hearing from you in 2018. We have a lot of exciting things planned in the new year, including intimate dinner events, multiple conferences nationwide and, of course, more coverage of all things related to the venture community. This includes in-depth news analysis, data reports, features and a special report on crypto investing.

As always, you’re welcome to share your thoughts and ideas with me and I’m happy to meet up and chat more. I can be reached at agoldfisher@buyoutsinsider.com. Cheers!

Photo of VCJ editor Alastair Goldfisher for VCJ