Still Standing? Then Take a Bow –

For those of you left standing, congratulations. It has been a hard-fought battle. And it’s not going to get any easier, but you know that, and that’s why you deserve a pat on the back. Finally, after a long dry spell, you’re starting to see the exits you worked so hard for (see “Funds Start To Get Liquid as IPOs Heat Up,” page 8). You’re grinding them out one at a time. Yes, the days of the Internet Bubble were fun, but I would imagine that you’re feeling much more satisfied today when you’re able to sell a portfolio company or take it public. I mean, it isn’t an everyday occurrence.

The same goes for raising a fund. Those brave souls who have hit the road to raise new funds deserve recognition, too. They know it isn’t going to be easy – even if they’ve done it before – but they are willing to put in the hard work for a year, sometimes more, to make their dream a reality (see cover story, page 30).

Venture capital has never been easy, but a few bad apples made it look that way during the Bubble. Like the newly minted VC who said he gave up his high-powered executive job because he didn’t want to work so hard. Or the GP who appeared to be more concerned about lowering his golf handicap than raising his fund’s IRR. Some of those guys are still around, but most of them have moved on (or were canned).

I recall a VC telling me a couple of years ago that the “tourists” had left the business, but I didn’t really see it then. Now, some five years after the madness that overtook us all, it’s finally becoming clear who the residents are and who was just passing through.

And so I congratulate those of you who stayed in town knowing full well how much hard work lies ahead. You know it’s not going to get any easier, but you persist. Because you know what you do is important, that it’s more than just returning capital to your LPs. You know that one or more of the companies that you help succeed really will change the world. That’s why you got into the business and that’s why you’re still here.

-Lawrence Aragon

lawrence.aragon@thomson.com