The Federal Reserve of the United States hiked a key interest rate benchmark by 0.50 percent, or 50 basis points, this week, putting an end to the era of free money. For a long time, startups have enjoyed the benefits of practically free money. The relative appeal of investing in bonds and other safer, albeit lower-yielding, assets was lowered as a result of a record era of low rates, meaning investors throughout the world were searching for a place to deposit capital and have a shot at meaningful earnings.
During this time, technology performed strongly, with tech companies gaining an even bigger boost. The process is straightforward: low interest rates prompted capital to flow into more exotic assets, such as venture capital funds. These funds expanded in size and quantity throughout time. The flood of capital to investors resulted in a surge of money for entrepreneurs. More capital pools with more money resulted in deal access contests, placing founders in control of values and terms. Another element at work was the COVID-19 pandemic, which boosted the value of public tech companies while hurting many other businesses owing to travel limitations and other economic shifts.
Crossover funds poured money into both public and private digital businesses, resulting in a surge of financing events that pushed valuation multiples to new heights. The rubber band is now snapping back into place. As loan rates climb, venture capitalists’ funding options shrink, and crossover capital has already departed to eat its wounds. Meanwhile, other assets, such as bonds, are simply more profitable than they were previously. Furthermore, the tech trade of the epidemic period has faded, leaving public comparisons for companies much below their peak prices.
This produces a one-of-a-kind shitstorm in which startups are fighting what must feel like a funding shortage at the same time as investors become more cautious and exits are limited owing to low public-market pricing. For entrepreneurs that have only known summer, it’s a shambles out there. Winter is not on its way; it has already arrived.
The response to the venture, Venture capitalists are openly discussing the shifting atmosphere, which contrasts with earlier in the year when such discussion was limited. Whether it’s because of more near-term market turmoil or because VCs are just finding their voice, the criticism has become more harsh and regular.