Venture capital goes through regular generational changes, with managing partners coming and going.
And many then come back again. Just ask Dick Kramlich, co-founder of New Enterprise Associates, who began to scale back his activities a decade ago and now, in his mid-80s, remains active in VC again with the new firm he co-founded, Green Bay Ventures.
But it’s a bit unusual to see in one week three brand-name venture capitalists announce their plans to retire: Bijan Sabet at Spark Capital, Jeremy Liew at Lightspeed Venture Partners and Roger Ehrenberg at IA Ventures.
All three are in their 50s, and their reasons for retiring are different. Ehrenberg mentioned the difficulty of the past 18 months, especially with elderly parents.
Sabet said he and his wife Lauren would focus on philanthropy on economic inequality and education. Sabet also said he and his wife would invest in seed and Series A deals in companies tackling climate change. Sabet’s plan is reminiscent of Chris and Crystal Sacca, who after Lowercase Capital have come out of retirement to launch Lowercarbon Capital with their own money to invest in climate tech.
People on Twitter, of course, had a lot to say about three VCs retiring in one week. Here’s a sample.
Lightspeed started this trend a week ago when it announced Liew:
1/2 After a great run of successful investing, including the 2021 IPOs of @Affirm and @Honest, @JeremySLiew will focus on supporting existing portfolio companies and developing the next generation of our team in our next fund cycle.
— Lightspeed (@lightspeedvp) September 17, 2021
Ehrenberg also tweeted:
The next chapter at IA Ventures https://t.co/fJ30TBNPxu It has been an amazing 12 years. I’m so grateful to @bradgillespie @beyroutey for their partnership and friendship, our LPs for their support and our founders for letting me be a part of their journeys. 🙏❤️
— Roger Ehrenberg (@infoarbitrage) September 23, 2021
Others on Twitter mused what this all means. Is it a changing of the guard?
3 top VCs retiring in one week 🤔
— Matt Turck (@mattturck) September 24, 2021
Several VCs announced stepping back from investing in the last week or so.
Others likely to do so in coming weeks/months.
Others may not announce, but busy with family, angel/LP investing, non-profits, etc.
Many leaving firms to start their own.
VC world in major transition.
— Bilal Zuberi (@bznotes) September 24, 2021
Some pretty major Founding GPs are stepping back or ‘retiring’ from the VC funds they started — many of whom announced this week.
Really feels like a ‘changing of the guard moment’ for the venture community.
— Jay Kapoor (@JayKapoorNYC) September 23, 2021
A few top/successful VCs retiring “early” ish I feel bc the industry is kind of changing.
-Compressed fund deployment/raising
-Increased competition for rounds
No question they’re 100% capable and can but is it worth it? They won and I’m sure will still be very involved.
— Trace Cohen pre/seed (@Trace_Cohen) September 24, 2021